Going Electric

Mercedes-Benz announced earlier this week that it will add electric drive to its commercial vans, making them more environmentally friendly and relevant as society shifts away from diesel-powered vehicles. The move comes after parent company Daimler stated it would invest $10 billion in electric vehicles.

The shift starts with their new mid-size eVito van, which comes installed with a 41.4 kWh, enabling it to travel up to 150 km (93 miles) on a single charge; its 84 kW electric motor allows to to achieve a top speed of 120 km/h (74 mph). The automaker is now taking orders for the eVito, though orders will not be fulfilled and delivered until "the second half of 2018." After the 2018 launch, additional models will follow in 2019.

“We are convinced by the necessity of electric drive in our vans, especially in city center applications," said Volker Mornhinweg, Head of Mercedes-Benz Vans, in a statement. "That said, electrification of the commercial fleet is not an end in itself, but follows the same principles as a classic drive when it comes to profitability. With our eDrive@VANs initiative, we’re showing that only holistic mobility solutions extending beyond the drive itself present a real alternative for commercial customers. The eVito is the starting point and will be followed by the new -generation of our Sprinter as well as the Citan."

Steady Competition for Mercedes-Benz

Mercedes-Benz and Daimler have revealed multiple non-diesel-powered vehicles this year, including a hydrogen-powered SUV and their electric semi truck. Of course, they aren't the only companies with big plans for the future of transportation. Earlier this month, Volkswagen committed to investing $40 billion into electric and hydrogen-powered vehicles, while General Motors is making moves to launch 20 electric cars by 2023.

Even within the service industry, Daimler and Mercedes are not alone in their actions. Tesla is redesigning their service vans using the Model S and Model X designs. UPS, meanwhile, hopes to convert nearly 1,500 of their trucks in New York City to electric by 2020.

Mercedes and Daimler are going to have fierce competition in the coming years, and the results can only lead to better products. It's only a matter of time before the automotive world is changed forever.

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