Electric powertrains represent a key technology for urban transport - especially within a commercial context. Mercedes-Benz Vans is developing fully electrically driven Vito and Sprinter model series vans. Daimler has already agreed on terms with the first partner, logistics company Hermes. Mercedes-Benz has also concluded a joint venture with ride-sharing start-up Via to establish on-demand shuttle services throughout Europe. Long-term, strategic partnerships also focus on using battery-electric Vito Tourer vehicles and thus producing zero local emissions.
By 2019 Mercedes-Benz Vans will be investing a total of €150 million in electrifying its commercial range based on Vito and Sprinter. The batteries for purely electrically driven vehicles will be produced by Daimler's subsidiary Deutsche Accumotive GmbH in Kamenz, Saxony, and powertrains will also be developed in-house. In this process, Mercedes-Benz Vans is relying on the modular Mercedes-Benz Cars system to consequently benefit from scaling effects.
The electrical powertrain will be specifically adapted to customers' intended purpose and performance requirements throughout various industries. In addition to providing vehicles and support, customised system solutions also involve establishing and running the charging infrastructure, connectivity solutions and financing as well as mobility concepts developed specifically for electrically driven vehicles. The Mercedes-Benz Vans sales network additionally provides comprehensive services in terms of eMobility in top quality.
Hermes and Mercedes-Benz Vans have agreed on a comprehensive, strategic partnership to electrify the logistics company's vehicle fleet. In 2018, the companies will launch battery-electric vehicles in real-time operations, initially as part of a pilot phase in Stuttgart and Hamburg. The venture focusses on verifying the cost-efficiency, sustainability and everyday suitability of zero emission delivery vehicles on the last mile. Thanks to these silent vehicles that produce zero local emissions, Mercedes-Benz Vans and Hermes Germany intend to make a sustainable contribution to optimising inner-city delivery traffic.
Mercedes-Benz Vans also invested US $50 million in a new joint venture with the American ride-sharing start-up Via. Thanks to intelligent Via ride-sharing, passengers travelling in the same direction are assigned to vans in real time. This increases vehicle use and thus takes the pressure off inner cities. Consequently, Via technologies and Mercedes-Benz Vans engineering result in a perfect combination enabling efficient, low-cost, sustainable ride sharing. The objective of the new joint venture is to also establish the on-demand shuttle service in European cities. The joint ride sharing service will be launched in London before the end of the year. Additional European cities are scheduled to follow shortly.
Mercedes-Benz Vans and Via will in future be collaborating on developing intelligent mobility as well as optimising vans for their use as part of ride sharing. In addition to advancing future-oriented software and sensors, the use of battery-electric Vito Tourers that consequently produce zero local emissions for passenger transport as part of the ride-sharing model also forms part of the long-term focus of the strategic partnership.
The cooperation represents a further milestone in the strategic Mercedes-Benz Vans adVANce initiative for the future, focussing on the development from vehicle manufacturer to a provider of comprehensive van mobility solutions.