Mercedes-Benz will make electric vans starting next year



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Daimler is expanding its electrification plans to include Mercedes-Benz's successful line of commercial vans.

The German auto conglomerate announced that it will add electric systems to all of its commercial van offerings over the next few years, starting with the brand new eVito model in 2018. Two more e-variants, the eSprinter and Citan, will follow in 2019. Mercedes-Benz Vans has pledged to invest 150 million euros (about $176.2 million) for the project. 

Daimler's plan goes beyond simply introducing electric powertrains to its current van models. Mercedes-Benz says it will also work with clients to offer a "holistic electric drive strategy," to help support the newly electrified fleets, developing individualized plans to optimize profitability and ease operators into the EV ecosystem. The company claims the eVito is the first vehicle to be developed using such a strategy. 

The electrification effort begins with the eVito, which has a projected all-electric range of about 93 miles per charge, a top speed of 75 mph, and the capability to carry payloads of more than 2,200 pounds. The automaker says the vans' range cuts down to around 62 miles with a full payload, however, and a full charge takes roughly six hours.   

Daimler is aggressively expanding its electric ecosystem, pledging to invest a total of $10 billion in "next gen EVs" in a Twitter clapback to Tesla's Elon Musk. The auto group has outlined plans to bring EV systems to some of its other commercial offerings, with EV school buses and trucks set to launch over the next few years.

Mercedes-Benz is also focused on ramping up its consumer line of EVs, with a $1 billion project to produce all-electric SUVs and batteries in Alabama and a pledge to electrify its "entire portfolio" by 2022. 

Mashable.com