VIDEO – Mercedes improves Sustaineer •

Mercedes-Benz has further improved its Sustaineer, the research project for the most optimal delivery vehicle. Four new innovations have been implemented in comfort, safety and durability.

Last-mile vans that are locally emission-free, produce their own green energy and can actively improve air quality in cities: already in 2021, Mercedes-Benz Vans gave a concrete taste of how sustainability in urban transport of the Sustainer (Sustainability) PIONeer) technology platform the future can look like. Now the further improved all-electric van based on the Mercedes-Benz eSprinter has four new, innovative solutions to improve the quality of life in cities, save resources and protect the climate, and improve driver health and concentration. . These include new short-range heating elements, automatic radiator valves, the mobilization seat and the Driver Coaching app. Features already known from the predecessor, such as fine dust filters on the front module and the base, a solar panel on the roof and components made from recycled materials can still be found on board the technology platform. The innovations and technical solutions that the Sustaineer is equipped with are designed with the possibility of series production in mind, so that their use in future vehicle generations of Mercedes-Benz Vans is conceivable. Mercedes-Benz is showing the further enhanced technology demonstrator with additional functions for the first time at SHIFT Mobility from 1 to 6 September 2022 in Berlin and at the Future Mobility Summit, which will also take place from 7 to 8 September 2022 in Berlin. Here, interested visitors will also have the chance to experience the new functions directly in real time with augmented reality glasses.

Due to the high heating energy demand due to the large cab and the constant opening and closing of the doors during delivery stops, conventional vehicle heating systems have a noticeable effect on the range of electric vans. Sustaineer takes it a step further by delivering heat exactly where it’s needed – the rider’s body. In addition, there are other effective heat management measures that can further increase the range of a battery-electric van like the eSprinter – an important benefit for courier, express and parcel services (CEP sector).

In addition to the seat, steering wheel and seat belt, surfaces on the driver’s door, footwell and steering wheel cover in the further improved Sustainer can be heated electrically. The short-range surface heating elements consist of an electrically conductive silver-carbon coating on a fleece. Due to their high surface temperatures, thermal comfort is ensured by radiant heat close to the body, which significantly improves the thermal efficiency of the heating system. Unlike the usual heating of the vehicle interior in winter, where the interior cools down relatively quickly during unloading, there is another advantage: the surfaces remain warm – an invaluable advantage when getting back into the vehicle in cold weather.

Both in our free time and at work, we sit too often and for too long. Prolonged sitting can be increasingly harmful to health, from back pain to psychological disorders such as fatigue and a reduction in cognitive abilities. Such consequences can be prevented by regularly changing the sitting position. Sports scientists therefore recommend frequent small changes in position to protect the body from long-term, one-sided stress. With the mobilization seat, Mercedes-Benz Vans has now also applied this principle to the driver’s seat in the van.

To this end, air chambers have been integrated into the seat surface and the backrest of the mobilization seat of the further improved Sustaineer. These are specifically inflated and deflated to induce movement and rotation in the rider’s body. Different sequences, running asymmetrically or symmetrically and mimicking the pelvic tilt, activate different areas of the air chambers and thus form the basis of a varied mobilization program.

Doctors, physiotherapists and sports scientists were involved in the development of the mobilization chair. As a result, muscle stiffness in the back can be reduced and a positive effect on the high physical load of the drivers can be achieved.

In addition, the mobilization seat not only promotes the well-being of the driver, but also feels comfortable. Like many interior components, the seating surfaces are made from high-quality recycled materials. Using these recycled products saves resources and reduces the carbon footprint.

Every driver knows that if you accelerate often and hard, you increase your vehicle’s fuel consumption. But of course it is not that simple – the matter is complex. In addition to the way the vehicle is used, and in particular the driver’s behavior, the load, the operating conditions, the type of vehicle bodywork, as well as climatic and topographical factors also influence the energy consumption and thus the profitability of a vehicle. or a complete fleet. These factors play an important role in the van sector in particular.

The Driver Coaching app developed by Mercedes-Benz together with WITTE:digital – part of WITTE Automotive GmbH – records and evaluates all these factors to compare driving behavior and objectivity in a fleet. This tailor-made solution for van fleets functions in daily practice as an “intelligent co-driver” and is intended to provide drivers with targeted support to optimize their driving behaviour. The goal: a significant improvement in range and more economical use of resources. In addition to specific feedback on individual driving behavior, the program includes a training and gamification approach that encourages more efficient driving. In addition, users have the opportunity to personalize and adapt the app to their needs using various modules – for example for loading and route planning, ERP integration and freight document management. The product vision for this future app will be presented in Sustaineer. The solution is currently under development and is not yet a product that can be sold. Changes may therefore occur in the product shown during further development. The app must not be operated while driving.

Air quality is an important factor for the quality of life in cities. In addition to CO2 emissions, road traffic also produces a significant amount of polluting particles. To further minimize the penetration of particles through tire, brake and asphalt wear, Sustaineer has had two fine dust filters since 2021, which were developed in collaboration with the filtration specialist Mann+Hummel. The front module and undercarriage filters reduce fine particle emissions in the immediate vicinity of the vehicle down to a particle size of ten micrometers (PM10) by more than 50 percent – ​​30 percent while charging and 15 percent while driving. The efficiency of the filtration is further increased when there is a higher particle density in the environment. This means that much larger amounts of particles can be filtered out in urban areas with poorer air quality.

Two aerodynamic innovations also contribute to the further improved Sustainer’s greater efficiency. On the one hand, the technology platform now has an almost complete undercarriage, something that is more common in motorsport. It consists of recycled polypropylene and bioplastic from household waste and tire scraps. In addition, the radiator hatches close automatically from a speed of 60 km/h, which reduces air resistance. This brings several advantages: drivers and car drivers benefit from a longer range and lower operating costs.

Mercedes-Benz is convinced of the environmental and economic benefits of battery-electric vans and is preparing to go fully electric by the end of this decade – as market conditions allow. In addition, within the framework of the sustainable corporate strategy “Ambition 2039”, Mercedes-Benz Vans aims to make its fleet of new cars and vans CO₂ neutral by 2039 throughout the entire value chain – from development, supplier network, own production and electrification of products to renewable energy sources for the use phase of electric vehicles and final recycling. Production will be CO2-neutral in all commercial vehicle factories worldwide from 2022, using only electricity from renewable energy sources.

Mercedes-Benz Vans has firmly anchored its leadership ambition for electromobility in its strategy and is systematically electrifying all model series. Today, customers, fleet managers and bodybuilders can already choose between four battery-electric models: eVito van, eSprinter, eVito Tourer and EQV. By the end of 2022, the electric range will also be extended to the small van segment with the eCitan and EQT. And it’s just the next step towards an all-electric future.

Last year, Van was able to become acquainted with Sustaineer for the first time.

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