Schenker Åkeri, one of Sweden's largest trucking companies, has boldly moved to electrify its fleet of light delivery vans. The company has ordered 32 Mercedes-Benz eSprinter electric vans to replace its diesel-powered vehicles for city distribution.
The Mercedes-Benz eSprinter is the latest model in the Mercedes-Benz Vans lineup, offering a battery-electric option. The Mercedes-Benz eSprinter boasts a range of up to 249 miles, a payload capacity of up to 2,646 pounds, and a cargo volume of up to 370 cubic feet. The Mercedes-Benz eSprinter also features a modular battery system that allows customers to choose between different battery sizes and charging options.
The Mercedes-Benz eSprinter is part of Mercedes-Benz's Electric Versatility Platform, which is an EV foundation built exclusively for large vans and their many variants. The platform enables the eSprinter to be produced in Europe and North America and sold in around 60 markets worldwide.
Why Schenker Åkeri chose the eSprinter
According to Daniel Vahlberg, Head of Innovation & Purchasing at Schenker Åkeri, the decision to switch to electric vans was driven by the company's sustainability goals and its responsibility to contribute to the UN's 1.5-degree target.
"It's not just about electric vehicles, it's about us humans and our future," he said.
Vahlberg said that the eSprinter met the company's needs for city distribution, where the average driving distance per day is less than 62 miles. He also praised the eSprinter's efficiency, reliability, and ease of use.
"The Mercedes-Benz eSprinter has exactly the same dimensions as the regular Sprinter and all the controls are in the same place," he said. "That makes it very easy for the drivers to switch vehicles. They do get training on how to work with regenerative braking and how to drive energy efficiently. It's quite different from driving a diesel vehicle."
The drivers of Schenker Åkeri also expressed their satisfaction with the eSprinter. Carina Bard, who works at Schenker Åkeri in Stockholm, said that driving the eSprinter was quiet and smooth.
"You glide along and you can drive extremely slowly when you need to. And all the exhaust and diesel smells are gone," she said.
How Schenker Åkeri plans to expand its electric fleet
With the first delivery of 32 eSprinters, Schenker Åkeri has electrified 20% of its fleet of light delivery vans. The company has about 150 such vehicles, which it plans to replace entirely with electric ones within a few years.
"We have probably bought our last diesel-powered delivery van, we are determined to fully electrify city distribution," Vahlberg said.
He added that the company was also looking into electrifying other segments of its fleet, such as medium and heavy trucks. However, he acknowledged that there were still challenges in terms of availability, infrastructure, and costs.
"We are constantly evaluating new solutions and technologies, but we also need support from policymakers and society at large," he said.
What this means for Mercedes-Benz and the electric van market
The order from Schenker Åkeri is a significant boost for Mercedes-Benz, which aims to be the leader in electric drive for vans. The German automaker has invested more than $400 million in developing its Electric Versatility Platform and expanding its production capacity for electric vans.
The Mercedes-Benz eSprinter is expected to arrive in U.S. and Canadian showrooms in late 2023, with a starting price of $74,181. The eSprinter will compete with other electric vans, such as the Ford Transit Electric, the Nissan e-NV200, and the upcoming Rivian R1T.
According to a report by ResearchAndMarkets.com, the global electric van market is projected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 19.5% from 2020 to 2027, reaching $18.7 billion by 2027. The report cites factors such as increasing demand for zero-emission vehicles, government incentives and regulations, and lower operating costs as drivers for market growth.
The report also identifies challenges such as high initial costs, limited range and charging infrastructure, and consumer preferences as barriers to market adoption.
However, as more companies like Schenker Åkeri embrace electric vans for their delivery operations, these challenges may be overcome by economies of scale, technological advancements, and changing consumer behavior. @via Schenker Åkeri.
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