Mercedes is Bringing Electric Vans and Sustainable Jobs to the US

Mercedes-Benz E-Sprinter Van
Credit: Mercedes-Benz

 

Our ability to buy almost anything from almost anywhere has created a nearly invisible shipping industry. Delivery vans roll through our cities, towns, and counties at such an alarming rate that at this point they don't register visually. 

But that rise in demand for goods delivered within days means that those vans, while all but ignored, contribute to CO2 emissions and an audible clattering that echoes down the road. If you're a regular online shopper, you likely know the sound of a delivery van pulling up to your home. If you also have dogs, they likely know that sound as well. 

While our desire to buy items from our phones doesn't seem to be subsiding anytime soon, the vehicles that drop off those packages are in fact changing. Amazon has been using Rivian's electric delivery vehicles for a while and Ford's E-Transit electric vans are already on sale. 

Another company also recently entered the electric delivery and work-van market, Mercedes-Benz. We had an opportunity to try out the new E-Sprinter in Southern California in February. The vehicle delivers the Mercedes Sprinter experience that drivers have come to expect from the German automaker. We were also happy to note that the vehicle's electric powertrain offered a more comfortable, smooth, and quiet ride. For those behind the wheel, that's likely a welcome change. 

For the cities, towns, and countries where these vehicles traverse daily, it's a move to a more sustainable delivery system that also reduces noise. The E-Sprinter (currently built on the same platform as the gas Sprinter van) that we drove will be followed up by a dedicated electric van architecture called VAN.EA in 2026. 

The vehicles will be produced in three facilities, two in Germany and the other at the Mercedes-Benz Vans plant in North Charleston, SC. This will expand Mercedes's US-built EV lineup.  The Mercedes' EQ electric passenger vehicles are built in Alabama. 

Interior Mercedes-Benz E-Sprinter Van
Credit: Mercedes-Benz

 

The company is also investing in the infrastructure around electric vehicles including vans. Recently Mercedes opened its first charging station and plans to expand its network over the next few years. This is in addition to its part in Ionna, the seven-automaker charging company partnership which received regulatory approval to begin working on its network and will open its first this year with a plan to add more than 30,000 charging stations to North America. 

Mercedes also talked to SAE about the third-party companies that will use its electric vans as the base for other use cases including RVs. 

All of these items require an increased workforce either working for, with, or adjacent to Mercedes. The automaker is hoping that 50 percent of its van sales in 2030 are electric. That's a huge amount of vehicles silently delivering items from stores residing in our phones. It's also a huge reduction in emissions while contributing to the growing sustainable workforce in the United States. So we can breathe easier knowing that a shoe delivery has a smaller impact on the planet and is contributing to a more sustainable workforce. 

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