Lifetime Fitness

Could the Mercedes 2024 eSprinter Become a #eVanlife Staple?

Before you get too excited, the Mercedes 2024 eSprinter you’re eyeballing here isn’t meant for you and your latter-day Burning Man dreams. I know, that’s a major buzz kill, but only sorta. See, the eSprinter is indeed all new, and it is indeed a major jump forward over the prior, limited-range edition previously sold in Europe (more below), but what you see here is the commercial cargo van that Mercedes wants to sell to contractors and their ilk in the U.S. of A. Nothing will stop you from grabbing one and e-motoring off to find your bliss, but—well—there are aspects you’re going to want that at least so far, Mercedes hasn’t penciled in for this 2024 model. So here are the pros and cons of what we know so far—and what we expect we’ll all see in due time.

Better Range and Power Deets

The anemic eSprinter that’s been selling in Europe was saddled with not very long-range batteries in 41kWh and 55kWh configs—which would be fine if you’re a cabinet maker or driving for Amazon and just bopping in an in-town circuit, but we’re talking a range of maybe 100 miles between charges. Oh, and the maximum horsepower is a measly 116.

Mercedes knows better than to try to sell that here, so the 2024 eSprinter’s 204hp and 295 lb. ft. of torque feel more reasonable, as does a 113kWh battery, which at least in more lenient European testing showed an overall range of about 250 miles, and 311 miles in city-only driving.

Juice That’s Worth the Squeeze

Interestingly, the eSprinter uses lithium/iron phosphate (LFP) batteries, rather than lithium-ion and this is to both reduce the nastiness of cobalt and scarcity of nickel that are required in lithium-ion, and also because that latter recipe is brutally expensive, volatile (heard about those cheap ebikes catching fire?), and LFP batteries last considerably longer. Meaning, your #vanlife just keeps going—unlike the bunny in those battery ads. Lastly, unlike Lithium-ion, LFP can be recharged to almost complete capacity without degradation. Mercedes says the new eSprinter can be charged from 10 to 80 percent in about 42 minutes.

Courtesy Image

What’s Missing?

The photos you’re seeing here of interiors all campered out? That stuff is on Sprinters that run on gas in Europe. Mercedes’ release about the new eSprinter did say, very specifically, that this was merely the first variant of what’s coming, and that’s a good thing, because this chariot only has rear-wheel drive, and you’ll notice it’s not sitting on baller 4×4 rubber meant for Moab. It’s a tall-roofed van—and it’s massive inside, with 488 cubic feet of interior.

Not only is that larger than most NYC studios, but it’s also about 3.5 times more capacious than VW’s forthcoming ID.Buzz, so it would be easy enough to convert this Mercedes into a legit camper. Maybe bunks above, internal kitchenette in the core, and out back storage for mountain bikes and skis?

Big is good, but our bet is that with VW bringing its own long-awaited dream van to America about the same time the eSprinter commercial rig drops (by this fall), Mercedes will soon show us a dressed-up model for civilians—and with 4×4 propulsion.

Nope, We Don’t Know the Price

Carmakers like to tease. Sorry. Hopefully the less costly LFP batteries mean the eSprinter won’t break the bank—and the fact that it, and the ID.Buzz will be manufactured domestically could and should let buyers qualify for electric vehicle tax credits. And, depending on the state where you live, more to boot.

Is the eSprinter anywhere near as groovy as the ID.Buzz? Nope. But if we had to choose which one to live out of for a year—or three—we’d for sure go bigger.

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