Mercedes-Benz have revealed plans to introduce luxurious mid-size electric passenger vans with the potential for factory-built RVs in the US and China.
The electric vans will be built on shared components and modules as part of the company’s next-generation “.EA” electric architecture. We’re seeing the modular approach increasingly often in the EV space, allowing for far easier re-designs and re-purposing of vans at a factory level.
Although they have yet to announce when they will stop producing internal combustion engine (ICE) vans, Mercedes-Benz plan for 20% of their vans to be electric by 2026, and 50% by 2030.
Mercedes-Benz’s VAN.EA platform is focused on scalability, efficiency, and long-term profitability. The new programme allows designers to step aside from ICE architecture and create new vans that are purpose-built for emobility.
The VAN.EA platform is composed of three modular blocks. All vans share the same front block, which houses the electric powertrain and front axle. A centre block adjusts the vehicle length and can accommodate battery packs of various sizes based on requirements. Additionally, a rear module is available, which can be equipped with or without an electric motor.
Mercedes-Benz split the vans they could make using their VAN.EA platform into two broad categories. The VAN.EA-P for luxury and extended range, VAN.EA-C for delivery and commercial uses.
The advanced scalability and customisation of the VAN.EA model opens the door to exciting new EV avenues for the company. Electric RV’s is a field that is currently largely untapped, but is sure to become hugely profitable over the next decade.
The synergy and shared features of these vans will allow Mercedes-Benz to step into the Electric RV space, although the company is yet to flesh out this idea, the VAN.EA model has the potential to rival the upcoming Volkswagen ID.Buzz’s electric RV ambitions.
With this move, Mercedes-Benz has thrown its hat into an increasingly competitive ring, with multiple companies seizing the chance to dominate the electric van market. Whoever comes out on top is sure to reap the rewards, and this innovative, modular system could be the edge the company needs to progress to the top.