Ford revealed the new E-Transit, the all-electric version of the Ford Transit, just last month ahead of its launch, which is scheduled for late 2021. But it appears that the E-Transit won’t be alone in the all-electric commercial van arena in America, as Automotive News is reporting that the Mercedes eSprinter, already on sale in Europe, will launch in the U.S. as early as Q3 in 2023.
Previously, Mercedes was hesitant to sell the eSprinter in the U.S. because of its limited range and high cost of homologation, but the rising demand for electric delivery vans has prompted the automaker to change course. The Mercedes eSprinter and E-Transit will be joined by a host of new offerings in the coming years, including all-electric delivery vans from Arrival, General Motors, and Rivian.
As companies seek to take advantage of the lower operating costs electric vehicles provide, Guidehouse Insights predicts that battery-powered light commercial vehicle sales, which have totaled around 56,000 units this year, will rise to 623,000 by 2030.
Automotive News is also reporting that the U.S. Mercedes eSprinter could receive a larger, 120-kilowatt-hour battery compared to the 55 kWh unit used in the European version, which would improve range considerably. Currently, that model offers a range of just 96 miles, while the E-Transit is rated to provide 126 miles of range.
Ford and General Motors control over 70 percent of the large van market in the U.S., a highly profitable segment for automakers. Those big two will face increasing competition as the market shifts toward electric vehicles in the coming years. Retailing giant Amazon recently ordered 100,000 EV vans from upstart automaker Rivian, while UPS has ordered 10,000 electric delivery vans from British startup Arrival.
As for the Mercedes eSprinter, its 2023 arrival is expected to coincide with a refresh for the Sprinter van it’s based on. Right now, it’s unclear if the eSprinter will be built at Mercedes’ existing factory in North Charleston, South Carolina, or if the automaker will build it elsewhere and import it to the U.S.