2023 Mercedes-Benz eSprinter 2.0 First Ride Review: Coming to America

It might not look like much, but there’s a next-gen eSprinter inside this test van.

Mercedes-Benz

While Mercedes-Benz already sells an electric eSprinter valve in Europe, there’s no such product in America. But that’s all about to change. When it launches in the second half of 2023, the US and Canada will be the first countries to receive the eSprinter 2.0, which will be manufactured at three different plants, one of which is MB’s facility in Charleston, South Carolina.

Underpinning the eSprinter 2.0 is Mercedes-Benz’s Electric Versatility Platform, which is an EV foundation built exclusively for large vans and their many variants, whether it’s a standard tall-roof delivery vehicle or an upfitted chassis cab such as an ambulance. This is a pretty major upgrade, as the original eSprinter was limited in its variations.

Since we are a ways away from its official reveal, the eSprinter’s nitty-gritty is still obscured. We know the eSprinter 2.0 will be offered with three different battery capacities. That way, last-mile urban delivery vehicles won’t need to carry around the weight of a battery that will never get used to its full potential, nor will longer-range solutions require obscene amounts of charging. There are no specific range estimates for the eSprinter 2.0 yet, but Mercedes-Benz said it hopes to double the range of the current van, which is anywhere between 85 and 100 miles.

After riding shotgun for some loops around Mercedes-Benz’s Stuttgart campus in an early development prototype, one thing I can confirm is that the eSprinter 2.0 sails quite smoothly. The speed limits are low on these test grounds, but when the engineer behind the wheel gooses the throttle once or twice, it’s impressive how quickly the unladen van is able to build speed. Still, a light foot and an eye on the battery meter will probably be the eSprinter’s most popular method of operation. As for the ride quality, well, it’s an empty van, and it feels like one — appropriately bouncy, but it’ll smooth out with a full load of cargo. The lack of clamor from an internal combustion engine is a nice little cherry on top.

The eSprinter 2.0’s updates aren’t just under the body, they’re also smack dab in the middle of the dashboard. There’s no Hyperscreen here, but the eSprinter 2.0 does carry the latest version of Mercedes-Benz’s MBUX infotainment system, including all the EV-specific bits from the EQS electric sedanlike a navigation system that keeps range and charging in mind.

The eSprinter’s plug is hidden behind its badge.

Mercedes-Benz

Since the eSprinter 2.0 will be built with both single users and fleets in mind, there’s a whole corner of the van’s backend dedicated to fleet management. Mercedes-Benz offers its own management solution, but many companies are already evaluating on other suppliers for this, so the manufacturer has an API that allows the eSprinter 2.0 to deliver all the relevant information a company needs on the van’s performance.

That’s about all there is to glean from the eSprinter 2.0 for now. But it’s a very promising electric van for a country where there is a serious need to electrify this segment. While there are legacy competitors in this space like Ford’s E-TransitMercedes will have to do battle with startups like Rivian, which built a delivery van specifically for Amazon. With a local factory, a flashy new EV platform and the outright versatility the company has always offered, the next-generation eSprinter is set up for success.


Editors’ notes: Travel costs related to this story were covered by the manufacturer, which is common in the auto industry. The judgments and opinions of Roadshow’s staff are our own and we do not accept paid editorial content.

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