Despite the promise of zero-emissions and international government support for companies to switch to electric vans, “the demand is virtually nonexistent,” according to Mercedes.
Even with strong marketing and gov’t incentives, the German car-maker has only been able to sell “a few hundred” of its E-Cell Vito electric vans – far short of the thousands the company had hoped to sell across Europe.
Mercedes-Benz, for its part, insists that the E-Cell Vito van is a viable transport option for European businesses. With an 80 mile range and a top speed of about 55 mph, the electric vans seem to tick all the fleet boxes for reliability, low cost per mile, and liability (many fleets limit the top speeds of their trucks), so it seems like that’s true. All the same, “the market has not seen that.”
It’s too bad about the Vito – I’ve seen a few of the electric FedEx vans around Chicago, and they seem sweet. Maybe Mercedes needs to bring the E-Cell Vito stateside and sell it alongside the bigger Sprinter? I think an E-Sprinter would be cool, anyway. Until that happens (don’t hold your breath), this seems like good-bye for the E-Cell Vito. How this news will impact other E-Cell programs like the SLS sportscar and B-class electric hatchback, however, remains to be seen.
Source: Car and Driver, via Motorpasion.