Mercedes-Benz Vans is adjusting European production as part of its strategy to achieve a leading position in electric mobility. The company is working hard to electrify the entire range and already offers many models in the medium and large van segment with an electric drivetrain. With the imminent arrival of electric variants in the small van segment, Mercedes-Benz Vans will soon offer electric options across the entire model range. The special thing is that Mercedes would like to produce vans together with Rivian.
By the middle of this decade, all newly introduced Mercedes-Benz vans are expected to be fully electric. These new vans will be based on VAN.EA, a completely new modular platform. The company plans to invest not only in the development of this platform, but also in the production sites.
Although Mercedes-Benz Vans’ CO2 footprint will be smaller, the switch to electric models also means a significant increase in the variable costs associated with new components. A robust and sustainable business model for the era of electric mobility therefore requires new solutions in order to continue to offer competitive products and realize new long-term perspectives for employees.
Mercedes-Benz Vans will therefore adapt the European production network to large all-electric vans in order to strengthen its market position and secure the long-term prospects of the German factories.
“We have traditionally operated in a highly competitive environment. This situation is becoming increasingly challenging due to the increasing number of new providers in the segments in which we operate. In order to continue to offer the best vans and services, we must be highly innovative and competitive in all areas,” said Mathias Geisen, head of Mercedes-Benz Vans. “We want to maintain our position as the only manufacturer producing large vans in Germany – despite the rising costs associated with the e-mobility transformation. To achieve this we coordinate with our European production facilities.By including a brand new production facility in our network based on an existing Mercedes-Benz plant in Central/Eastern Europe, we can ensure the long-term competitiveness of our German plants and ensure the successful transition from Mercedes-Benz Vans to to make the electric age possible.”
Alignment of European production network for large vans
The Mercedes-Benz factory in Düsseldorf is the largest factory for the production of Mercedes-Benz vans and currently produces the current generation Sprinter and eSprinter. In the future, the open-body VAN.EA variants (for bodybuilders or open-body versions) will also be built here. The planned investments to make the necessary adjustments in the factory amount to approximately 400 million euros in total.
The Mercedes-Benz factory in Ludwigsfelde has been building the open-body Sprinter since 2018. The company is also considering setting up this factory as a competence center for the individualization of electric vans.
An important part of the production adaptation for large all-electric vans is the integration of an existing factory from the Mercedes-Benz AG network into the Mercedes-Benz Vans production network. Going forward, this factory, which is located in Central/Eastern Europe, will produce large (panel) vans based on the VAN.EA platform. By taking this step, Mercedes-Benz Vans aims to take advantage of cost advantages that will enable it to secure its competitive position in the long term.
Mercedes-Benz Vans and Rivian have signed a memorandum of understanding on a strategic partnership. The companies plan to establish a new joint venture with the aim of investing in (operating) a European plant for the production of large electric vans from both Mercedes-Benz Vans and Rivian. The planned facility is to be built on the site of an existing Mercedes-Benz production facility in Central/Eastern Europe. With this partnership, Mercedes-Benz Vans takes another step in its transformation into a manufacturer of all-electric vans and strengthens its long-term market position.
Mercedes-Benz Vans is continuously working on the further development of the models. With three battery variants and multiple body types, ranging from vans to chassis cabs to flatbed versions, the brand aims to capture not only new customer segments but also new markets, including the US and Canada, with the next-generation eSprinter. Depending on the configuration, the range will be more than double that of the current eSprinter. Preparations are currently underway for the gradual start of production of the next generation of the eSprinter, which will take place in the second half of next year at the factories in Charleston, Düsseldorf and Ludwigsfelde.
With the new VAN.EA (Van Electric Architecture), Mercedes-Benz Vans is accelerating its transformation into a supplier of all-electric models. VAN.EA forms the basis for all electric vans that Mercedes-Benz will market from 2025 in the medium and large segment.