The first 100 Mercedes-Benz All Electric Vito E-CELL light commercials were introduced in 2010. Further market testing will take place before 2012 with the production of an additional 2000 units from the Mercedes-Benz factory in Vitoria, Spain. The E-CELL van will be available in the UK in the second half of 2011.
The E-CELL, which is based on the long wheelbase diesel Vito, is the latest addition to the popular Mercedes-Benz minibuses range and Vito vans. It is likely that the E-CELL will be readily converted into the Mercedes-Benz minivan that's already replacing many London Black Cabs.
What are the advantages of the Vito E-CELL?
The Vito E-CELL is the first all electric-battery van introduced ex factory by any automobile manufacturer putting Mercedes-Benz firmly in the driving seat of this emerging technology.
With a top speed of 50mph (80kmh) and a range of 80miles (130kms) the Mercedes-Benz Vito E-CELL can carry a payload of 900kg - just right for inner city light haulage and delivery.
Charging the batteries of the E-CELL costs less than re-fuelling the diesel Vito. Green groups will like the fact that the E-CELL does not produce noxious emissions.
What makes it go?
The electric motor that powers the E-CELL can achieve a drive torque of 280nm and provides a constant power of 60kw with a peak of 70kw. When it comes to pulling power, the Vito E-CELL is a match for any conventionally powered vehicle.
16 x 12 cell cutting-edge high-capacity lithium-ion drive batteries situated under the spacious cargo bed provide the power.
The batteries receive their power from the mains via a power management control unit. When the batteries are charged and the vehicle is in use, power flows from the batteries through the control unit to the e-motor. Finally, the e-motor powers the drive wheels.
This sounds pretty standard electromotive technology but a unique part of the design is that as the van decelerates, the wheels actually become generators putting power back into the batteries. This allows the van to work over a greater time period than would normally happen with conventional electric vehicles.
Further advantages of the Mercedes-Benz E-CELL.
The relative silence of the E-CELL and the absence of exhaust pollutants will greatly benefit the urban environment. The E-CELL scores over conventional vans in the following ways:
Delivering to areas normally associated with high exhaust pollution
Night deliveries to residential areas where driving is usually restricted
Use around Hospitals, health resorts and other sensitive areas
It doesn't consume valuable limited resources such as oil
A number of vans have already been supplied to EuropCar for customer trials in Hamburg and Paris. These trials will allow EuropCar to establish the feasibility of adapting the E-CELL for use as a rental vehicle.
Once the possibility of converting these commercial vans into about-town minibuses and taxis is realised, Mercedes minibus sales will surely soar.
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Stephanie Andrew writes and publishes articles for Sussex based SEO consultants, ePage Solutions, whose clients include Ben Weaver Commercial Vehicle Sales, suppliers of Minibuses and Wheelchair accessible minibuses. Ben Weaver are mercedes minibus sales specialists.
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