Daimler has over 30 outlets for Mercedes-Benz Vito E-CELL in Germany

Article by Christian A., on February 23, 2012

There are now more than 30 trade partners and branches of Daimler AG across Germany that are operating as service and sales outlets for the Mercedes-Benz Vito E-CELL, ensuring blanket coverage in the country for the first van to have the standard-fit electric drive ex-factory. The guiding principle of Mercedes-Benz is evident in the latest and innovative drive technology of the Vito E-CELL.

In relation to this principle, pioneers of the new drive technology will enjoy comprehensive services. The Vito E-CELL is being marketed through 33 partners and branches of Daimler AG, while services are available from 30 partners and branches.

Just like the other Vito units, the Vito E-CELL is integrated in the standard procedures such as the regular Star Diagnosis system, enabling any workshop to qualify for the Vito E-CELL. Essentially, the process involves in-depth training of personnel since only the electrics experts are allowed to work on the automobiles fitted with high-voltage systems.

The qualification procedure includes varying levels and culminates in qualification as a specialist for high-voltage systems in automobiles. When it comes to any of the Mercedes-Benz units, specific replacement components for the Vito E-CELL can be procured from the company's Central Supply Depot in Germersheim.

When it comes to maintenance, the Vito E-CELL is specifically simple and cost-effective, as it only requires servicing once a year or once every 20,000 km. Aside from the routine checkups for potential leakages and correct functioning, the mechanics also inspect all high-voltage cabling and parts. Servicing costs are low since there is no oil or oil filters necessary to be replaced on the electric van.

The introduction of the new Mercedes-Benz Vito E-Cell completes the premium carmaker’s trinity of vans capable of catering to customers’ transport needs while remaining friendly to the environment. Now, Mercedes has a wide range of power systems that should provide customers with more interesting choices -- internal combustion engines, natural gas and LPG drive systems, and all-electric drive.

Mercedes’ Vito E-Cell is actually the carmaker’s first venture into electrified vans. In 1972, Mercedes commenced the development of the LE 306 electric van. This was then followed by a large-scale experiment involving the Mercedes 307 E. Soon after, the German marque developed and created the Mercedes 308 E as well as an electric version of the Mercedes Sprinter. In fact, some of these electrified units are still in running conditions.

However, Mercedes had always found it difficult to commence series production of these electrified vans – again and again – no thanks to inadequate battery technology. Because of the lack of sufficiently durable and powerful batteries, Mercedes’ vans failed to meet professional requirements in terms of payload and operational range. This led to the conclusion that running a large fleet of electric vans proved to be not viable for the carmaker’s commercial customers.

Now, Mercedes’ vast experience and continued expertise in the area of electric drive systems have allowed it to successfully develop the new Mercedes Vito E-Cell. Today, Mercedes has access to high-density lithium-ion batteries, smart charging systems and innovative driving strategies – all of which were not possible in the past decades. Still, Mercedes is trying to find ways to improve its electrified technologies and new battery systems through partnerships, which should allow it to make series production of the Mercedes-Benz Vito E-Cell much more viable.

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