You can probably thank the Ford E-Transit for this.
The eSprinter was first announced a few years ago; most of us presumed it would be for Europe and a few other markets, but not the U.S., such is the state of demand for electric vans in America. Or was, I should say. A new report in Automotive News says that’s changing.
Mercedes-Benz plans to bring an electric commercial van to the U.S. as early as the third quarter of 2023, according to people familiar with the matter.
Emerging demand for electric delivery vans from logistics companies, tightening emissions regulation and new products from competitors are spurring Mercedes to bring the eSprinter to the automaker’s second-largest market, the people said.
This is all because we’ve all been spending a lot of time at home in the pandemic and ordering lots of shit online. And also because many companies have sustainability goals, and because electric delivery vans could save also save them money long term. There is no price attached to the U.S. eSprinter just yet, but in Europe it starts at £51,950, not including state subsidies.
“Amazon’s buying anything and everything that looks like it might have a battery in it,” said Conrad Layson, an analyst with AutoForecast Solutions.
UPS Inc. has ordered 10,000 electric delivery vans from British startup Arrival, which is backed by Hyundai.
Electric vehicles are “poised to revolutionize the commercial fleet world,” said Scott Phillippi, UPS senior director of fleet maintenance and engineering.
The eSprinter for Europe has less than 100 miles of range, which is fine because they are intended for so-called “last mile” deliveries — the final leg of the trip before a package reaches your doorstep — and also intended for urban areas, where delivery routes are shorter. Even so, the eSprinter that comes to the U.S. will likely have a longer range, according to Automotive News, with possibly a 120 kWh battery, or more than double the 55 kWh that goes to the eSprinter in Europe. At any rate, I’m guessing the numbers-crunchers at UPS have been doing the math on electric vans for years.