Details of Mercedes-Benz's electric version of the Vito van have just been released. This van is practically the first vehicle in its class to get ex factory battery-electric drive.
Mercedes said that the production of a test fleet of 100 units has already started, with 2,000 more units to be built in 2011. The vehicle has an operating range of 130 km and a payload of around 900 kg, depending on equipment specifications.
Powering it is a permanent synchronous electric motor with an output of 60 kW (peak output of 70 kW) and 280 Nm of torque. A single-speed transmission developed for the Vito distributes the power to the wheels.
But in order to maximize the batteries, the van's speed is electronically limited to 80 km/h (50 mph). The lithium-ion batteries, which are found under the load compartment floor, boasts a capacity of 36 kWh, 32 kWh of which energizes the vehicle.
The Vito E-cell features a Watchdog safety system, which lessens the risk of power losses damage due to unauthorized access to the vehicle. When not being used, the high-voltage network is deactivated by Watchdog.
Charging stations provided by EnBW and Vattenfall for the test program will charge the van. An additional charging cable with a conventional domestic power plug can also be used to recharge the van from 230 volt mains. A KERS-like system may also be used to recharge the batteries when the driver applies the brakes.
Other than that, the E-Cell Vito has the same characteristics as other Vito models. The van, which is based on the long-wheelbase Mercedes-Benz Vito with a standard roof, features a multifunction steering wheel, heatable and electrically adjustable exterior mirrors, a two-seater bench for the co-driver, two sliding doors, a tailgate and the "CARGO" equipment package.