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The Mercedes-Benz Unveils the ‘SUSTAINEER' Electric Concept Van, Designed for Sustainable Urban Mobility

The Mercedes-Benz Unveils the ‘SUSTAINEER' Electric Concept Van, Designed for Sustainable Urban Mobility

Author: FutureCar Staff    

Automaker Mercedes-Benz unveiled its last-mile transportation concept solution for urban mobility called the SUSTAINEER, which offers a glimpse to what sustainable transportation might look like in the near future.

The name "SUSTAINEER" is derived from the description of the vehicle as a "SustainABILITY PIONeer", according to Daimler.

The fully-electric SUSTAINEER van is based on the popular Mercedes-Benz eSprinter. It combines a variety of innovative solutions designed to improve the quality of life in cities, to conserve resources and protect the climate, and to better protect the health and safety of the driver.

"An important foundation of our strategy is sustainability," says Marcus Breitschwerdt, Head of Mercedes-Benz Vans. "We are 100 percent convinced of the environmental and economic advantages of our electric vans. Following the path towards "electric only" is therefore the only logical and consistent approach for us."

Innovations in the SUSTAINEER include a fine particle filter on the front module and underbody to help clean the air while driving, even though the vehicle is electric and has zero emissions. The underbody filter is located near the rear axle, which Mercede-Benz says that the highest concentrations of particulate matter around the vehicle can be found. 

The idea for the filters is that fine particles released around the van from rubber wearing off the tires, brake dust and the road surface itself can be filtered while the van is in operation. To further help address this, Mercedes Benz added low-wear ceramic-coated brake discs, which create less metallic dust, as well as installing low rolling resistance tires, which help reduce tire wear and road noise. 

Mercedes says the front and underbody filters can reduce fine particulates as small as ten micrometres near the vehicle by over 50%, including a 35% reduction while charging and by 15% while driving. 

The van also features a fairly large solar panel on the roof. Energy from the solar roof can extend the van's range by several thousand kilometres per year, according to Daimler. In addition, many of the van's components are made of recycled materials.

Mercede-Benz Vans even increased the efficiency of the heating systems by bringing it closer to the body of the vehicle and the cabin, which increases thermal efficiency by reducing heat loss. The steering wheel and driver seatbelt can also be heated for additional comfort in colder weather. The automaker claims that the seatbelt heater provides more rapid warming than a heated seat and allows the driver to keep their coat off and still stay warm.

The Speed Delivery Door

Mercedes has always been known to be a pioneer of innovation and that extends to the SUSTAINEER's Speed Delivery Door", which automatically opens and closes when the driver leaves his or her seat. This feature is designed to make ecommerce deliveries easier for the driver that might make dozens of stops per day.

The Speed Delivery Door is controlled by sensors. It includes an automatic, sensor-controlled double swivelling door on the front passenger side, which replaces the standard right side sliding door to the load compartment on request. 

A light barrier sensor detects the driver as soon as he or she leaves the seat and enters the load compartment to grab a parcel. The Speed Delivery Door then unlocks itself and open automatically.

The sensor-controlled automatic unlocking and opening function saves time and assists the driver, who can pick up the parcels in the load compartment and leave the vehicle without needing to use a door handle. The door closes automatically once the driver is out. 

With a conventional sliding door, a driver often has to put packages down to close it, so it can be a time saver. On a typical delivery route with approximately 150  stops, the time saved can add up to 25 minutes, according to Mercedes.  

Another advantage to this design is that passers-by cannot see into the vehicle from the outside since the door closes automatically.

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The Speed Delivery Door is controlled automatically by sensors.

The SUSTAINEER van is part of the company's "Ambition 2039" business strategy. Mercedes‑Benz Vans is aiming to make its future fleet of both private and commercial vans carbon neutral throughout their entire life cycle, from the development phase to the use of renewable energy to charge the batteries to operate the vehicles. 

As of 2022, Dailimer said that production will be carbon neutral at all company-owned van factories worldwide and only use electricity from renewable energy sources.

Daimler plans to phase out the production of gas-powered commercial vehicles and replace them with battery-powered versions by the middle of the decade. Customers can already choose from four battery-electric models in Europe, including the eVito panel van, the eSprinter, the eVito Tourer and the EQV. 

In 2022, the company's portfolio of electric vehicles will be extended to include the small vans segment with the addition of the eCitan and the EQT. This will make Mercedes-Benz the only manufacturer in the world to offer a locally emission-free model in all van segments.

Mercedes-Benz Vans is also developing a completely new electric only van architecture called VAN.EA that will underpin its commercial, battery-powered vans. It will support the company's MBUX infotainment system. Eventually Android applications can safely be used in the vehicle without distracting the driver, so additional devices such as smartphones or tablets will no longer be required to stay connected.

In the second half of 2022, Mercedes-Benz said it will roll out a sustainable repair concept for all of its electric vans to prolong the life cycle of the high-voltage batteries installed in the vehicles.

FutureCar Staff
FutureCar Staff
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