There are a few pure-electric vans on the market (the Nissan e-NV200, Renault Kangoo ZE, and Citröen Berlingo Electrique), but automakers have skipped the “transition step” of plug-in hybrids for this category. However, Mercedes has decided to step in and fill the gap.
The Mercedes V Class plug-in hybrid concept van (dubbed the Mercedes V-ision E Concept) reportedly has a 210 horsepower 4 cylinder gas engine and a 123 horsepower electric motor. This allows it to hit 100 kilometers on only 3 liters of dirty fuel, translating to 78 miles per gallon. (Note: that’s presumably according to the sketchy New European Driving Cycle.)
“The drivetrain will also feature an impressive 443 lb-ft of torque, enough to get it to 60 mph in under 6 seconds. Its 13.5 kWh battery will give it an electric only range of 30 miles and allow it to travel at speeds up to 50 mph on the electric motor alone,” Steve Hanley notes over on Gas2. Again, though, recognize that the range figure is surely inflated.
Volker Mornhinweg, head of Mercedes‑Benz Vans, does a great job highlighting just why plug-in hybrids (and pure-electric vehicles, for that matter) are so bloody awesome. Here’s the money quote: “With pioneering Mercedes-Benz plug-in hybrid technology, we are able to increase the output of the most powerful V-Class currently available by a further 105 kW, while lowering consumption to that of a compact car. That’s what I call a forward-looking performance enhancement.”
The downside, for now: this is just a concept vehicle. So, don’t jump for joy yet, but let’s hope this thing does indeed get built.
As a concept vehicle, the V-ision E Concept includes some fun features that would not likely make it to production, like a glass sunroof spanning most of the roof, which aims to make the interior resemble an “upscale urban loft flooded with sunlight.” That plush interior, btw, “is trimmed in white Nappa leather and white microfiber upholstery.” The floor is made of dark English walnut wood.
“The middle row seats are similar to the front seats found in an S Class sedan. They have calf supports and an available massage function. Occupants can mount their iPads on special brackets built into the front seat backs to get some work done while underway or recline the seats up to 50 degrees if they feel like grabbing a power nap before their next appointment.”
Definitely a vehicle for the movies, and attracting eyeballs at a big motor show… (i.e., the Geneva Motor Show, where it was just unveiled).
Nissan Launches 7-Seat Electric Van (publishing at 10:00 am NYC time on Sunday, March 8)