Commercial and heavy vehicles may well beat conventional passenger cars to the post when it comes to the self-driven and all-electric future, and Mercedes-Benz has one eye on both.
Meet the Vision Van concept - designed to preview a future all-electric van as part of Benz’s ‘adVANce’ initiative.
The Vision Van can cover up to 270km between charges with its 75kW motor, and is fitted with a fully-automated cargo area. There’s even a pair of delivery drones mounted to the roof.
Benz says the boom in e-commerce and urbanisation makes the Vision relevant for the businesses of today, as a vehicle that’s part of a “systems solution” rather than just a delivery van.
As more consumers order more products online, including everyday items such as meals, Benz says the Vision is designed to support same-day delivery or even delivery within the hour as part of the ‘last mile’ process. To that end, Benz says last mile delivery efficiency could be improved by up to 50 percent.
Deliveries aren’t the only item on the Vision’s agenda, with Mercedes envisioning future use as a workshop on wheels for mobile mechanics and tradies, or the basis of a fully-autonomous ride-sharing concept for passengers.
"In the first six months of this year, we brought in the best results yet for Mercedes-Benz Vans,” Mercedes-Benz’s Volker Mornhinweg said.
“This provides us with an excellent foundation to position our vans division systematically for the future."
AdVANce isn’t just about electrification, with Benz also concentrating on “digitalisation, automation and robotics in vans as well as innovative mobility solutions” with an investment of €500 million (AU$737 million) over the next five years. The carmaker says around 200 employees are already working on AdVANce projects.
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