Mercedes-Benz Introduces 2024 eSprinter Cargo Van

The U.S.-produced electric-powered cargo van is aimed at the delivery sector with a WLTP city range rating of 329 miles.

Greg Kable

February 7, 2024

5 Min Read
Mercedes eSprinter fromt 1.4
’24 eSprinter's specs include 2,642-lb. maximum payload, up to 488 cu.-ft. of cargo capacity.

LOS ANGELES – Ask Mercedes-Benz what the latest evolution of the eSprinter represents, and they tell you it is not only a new chapter in the 29-year history of the big cargo van but also a blueprint for the planned electric future of its commercial-vehicle lineup.

This may not be immediately obvious to those who don’t keep close tabs on the German automaker’s more robust workplace models; the boxy styling fails to differentiate it from more traditional diesel engine versions of the fourth-generation Sprinter already on sale in the U.S.

But look beneath the high-roof cargo van body, and you’ll find a newly developed electric-drive system (e-axle, pictured below) providing it with zero-emission compatibility and a range of up to 329 miles (530 km) in metropolitan driving on the WLTP test cycle.

Mercedes eSprinter e-axle.jpg

And it is in the city and suburbs where Mercedes-Benz says the eSprinter is expected to excel. Aimed primarily at the delivery sector and other fleet logistic businesses, it offers up to 488 cu.-ft. (13,819 L) of cargo capacity and a maximum payload of 2,642 lbs. (1,198 kg).

It is no bargain in the U.S., where its price starts at $71,866 for the 100-kW standard-output model and rises to $75,316 for the more powerful 150-kW high-output model.

By comparison, the turbocharged 2.0L 4-cyl. diesel Sprinter, available with either 168 hp or 208 hp, is priced between $52,195 and $57,495 here.

Production of the eSprinter for the North American market takes place alongside diesel Sprinter models at Mercedes-Benz van division’s Charleston plant in South Carolina.

Overall, Mercedes-Benz’s van division is investing about $375 million in the development and production of the new model, with some $60 million earmarked for upgrades to its existing U.S. factory.  

The importance of the North American market and Charleston plant to Mercedes-Benz’s van division is reflected in its 2023 sales. Of the 447,800 vans it sold last year, some 86,400 or 19.9% were in the U.S., ranking it second only to Germany in terms of sales volume.

The ’24 eSprinter is the last new Mercedes-Benz van to be based on an existing unibody platform, according to the head of Mercedes-Benz van development, Robert Inderka. All future models from Mercedes-Benz’s commercial vehicle division will use the new VAN.EA structure to be introduced in 2025, he says.

With a new rear-wheel-drive layout that is also to be adopted by VAN.EA-based models, it replaces the front-wheel-drive eSprinter sold in limited volumes in various markets between 2018 and 2023.

The eSprinter offered in the U.S. rides on a 170-in. (4,318-mm) wheelbase in line with its diesel sibling.

Inside (pictured, below), the cabin mirrors that of the other Sprinter models, with a range of different seating configurations, analog instruments and a 10.3-in. (26-cm) central touchscreen infotainment display.

Mercedes eSprinter interior.jpg

You can specify the eSprinter with the latest version of Mercedes-Benz’s MBUX operating system, including the “Hey Mercedes” voice-control assistant. There is also an optional digital rearview mirror, allowing an uninterrupted view toward the rear via a camera when the cargo bay is fully loaded, as well as a navigation system capable of calculating the energy requirements for a particular route in real-time.

The drive is provided by a ZF-produced synchronous electric motor mounted within the rear axle together with a single-speed gearbox. It is available with an output of either 100 kW or 150 kW. In both cases, it delivers up to 295 lb.-ft. (400 Nm) of torque. 

Energy for the electric motor is provided by a newly developed 113.0-kWh lithium-iron-phosphate (LFP) battery manufactured by CATL in China. EPA range figures are yet to be made official. However, Mercedes-Benz quotes a combined city/highway WLTP range figure of 273 miles (440 km) along with the aforementioned metropolitan range of up to 329 miles. 

The new battery can be charged at up to 9.6 kW on an AC system and up to 115 kW on a DC setup. Mercedes-Benz claims a 10% to 80% battery top-up in 42 minutes.

The eSprinter’s strengths become immediately clear when you climb behind the steering wheel and head into a city. Its electric drivetrain is extremely quiet compared to the Sprinter’s diesel engine, making it very straightforward and more pleasant to drive for extended periods.

The step-off from traffic lights is a little sluggish as the electric motor works to overcome the significant weight of the new van from a standstill. Still, the departure is always extremely smooth and linear.

Once up to speed, it glides along well, with excellent refinement by commercial vehicle standards. Together with the hushed qualities of the drivetrain, road noise is also well isolated owing, in part, to the added cargo tray insulation provided by the big battery.

There are three driving modes: Comfort, Economic and Maximum Range. The driver also can alter the amount of energy recuperation across five different modes including D Auto.

The steering is excellent, with the sort of weighting and accuracy that wouldn’t be out of place on more dedicated passenger car offerings.    

While the eSprinter’s new battery contributes over 1,764 lbs. (800 kg) to its curb weight, the mass is concentrated low, giving it well-mannered handling. The ride is well controlled when the cargo bay is loaded, with sufficient compliance from the MacPherson strut (front) and composite leaf spring (rear) suspension to ensure the eSprinter is never harsh or hard riding.

So, the new eSprinter is an accomplished newcomer to the electric commercial vehicle ranks. But next to the traditional internal-combustion-engine van competition, it’s a rather expensive one at that. Mercedes-Benz is hoping its zero-emission credentials coupled with its easy-to-operate traits and highly refined electric drivetrain will see it find favor among metropolitan delivery fleet operators and others. 

Mercedes eSprinter at charger.jpg

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