Mercedes-Benz Unveils VAN.EA Platform for Electric Vans - Select Van Leasing
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Mercedes-Benz Unveils VAN.EA, a Single, Scalable, Modular Platform for All-Electric Vans

Mercedes-Benz is taking an all-in approach to how it will make electric vans, developing a new platform called Van Electric Architecture. Known as VAN.EA, it’s dedicated to supporting battery electric LCVs and beginning in 2026, all new Mercedes vans will be based on this single, scalable, modular platform.

Mercedes has a strong "electric-only" strategy, and in keeping with this, all future midsize and large vans for both commercial and private customers will be built on the new platform. Not only will the move be another step towards cleaner energy, but it will also allow Mercedes to be more adaptable for its customers, catering more effectively for their individual needs. 

“This enables us to consolidate our midsize and large vans down to only one architecture and significantly reduce the complexity of our product portfolio,” 

explains Mathias Geisen, Head of Mercedes-Benz Vans. 

“[Providing] maximum added value for customers with sustainable profitability at the same time, VAN.EA clearly underscores our aspiration to ‘Lead in Electric’.”

The focus for VAN.EA will be on efficiency and performance, including aerodynamics, drivetrain, tyres, and chassis, to achieve a high electric range with optimal battery capacity. 

The VAN.EA platform will be built in three modules, designed to utilise common parts to reduce the use of extra resources and keep costs in check. The chassis architecture will allow Mercedes to offer front-wheel and all-wheel-drive variants and be able to accommodate different battery capacities, adding flexibility and addressing different customer requirements.

The front module houses the electric powertrain and front axle and will be the same in all VAN.EA variants. The centre and rear modules are where the models diverge, and different configurations are created; the centre module holds the battery packs, with the vehicle length able to be changed according to the model being configured. The rear module will be available in two versions — either as a simple module holding the rear axle in front-wheel drive models or, for the all-wheel-drive version, a second motor will be housed in this rear module.

Mercedes believes that the new platform forms the ideal base for customers that value functionality, reach, payload and cargo space. The modular and scalable design of the architecture is tailor-made for different configurations and upfitter solutions: From courier, express, and parcel delivery vehicles to ambulances or grocery vans, from municipal vans or flatbeds to lifting platforms or recreational vehicles, Mercedes say almost anything is possible.

When the new vehicles are launched, autonomous driving to level 2 — i.e. primarily automatic, but you still need to pay attention and take over when necessary — will be available to drivers. It is expected that level 4 autonomy — full self-driving without human input, although you’ll be able to take over and drive manually if needed — will be offered by the end of the decade, opening the door for driverless operations.

Mercedes also aims to decrease CO₂ emissions significantly across the lifecycle of new vans, with a target of over 50% of its LCV sales being electric by 2030.

The company is targeting substantial growth in its most important markets, which include Europe, the US, and China. Its aim in the US is to increase sales profitability substantially by 2030 and expand the portfolio by adding VAN.EA-based commercial vans to the lineup.

With an annual growth of 6‑8% per year worldwide, the courier, express, and parcel services market is a strong driver for fully-electric urban mobility. Mercedes focuses on the upper price bands of this industry sector, where it intends to offer a VAN.EA CEP-specific version for the first time.

Mercedes is reorganising its production network as part of its global expansion, with its first pure electric light commercial vehicles (eLCV) plant in Jawor, Poland. The plant is expected to set new standards in productivity and sustainability for manufacturing premium eLCVs. Mercedes plans to fulfil 100% of its energy needs through renewable sources, including photovoltaics, wind power, geothermal, and solar thermal energy.

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David Hughes

Friday, 17/05/2024