Mercedes-Benz will add a battery-electric variant of the Sprinter as it updates the commercial van line for its third generation. But it’s not yet clear when, or even if, the new eSprinter will be sold in the U.S.
The redesigned combustion-engine Sprinter will go on sale in the U.S. by the end of 2018, and Mercedes will begin producing most U.S. versions at a new plant about to open in Charleston, S.C. The plant will ramp up production in the second half of this year.
Mercedes touts new connectivity services and improvements that will make the Sprinter’s cab a better workplace as key advances for the redesigned van. It also will have comfort and safety features similar to a car, the company said.
Comprehensive Internet connectivity in the redesigned Sprinter will make fleet management significantly easier, Mercedes said. Through the new Mercedes PRO connect feature, a manager can be linked to all vehicles and drivers in a fleet to manage assignments online and retrieve vehicle information such as location or fuel level in near real time.
The Sprinter also will get the new Mercedes-Benz User Experience natural language interface in its high-end dashboard option. That is one of four dashboards available for the van.
The redesigned Sprinter line is more variable than before, with a potential total of more than 1,700 different configurations worldwide. The number of configurations possible in the U.S. market will be announced later, Mercedes said.
Safety and assistance systems available for the redesigned Sprinter include a self-cleaning rearview camera that displays an image in the rearview mirror, a 360-degree view parking camera system and a rain sensor that helps improve visibility during the window-wiping process.
A new front-wheel-drive option is being added, but it won’t be available in North America due to local market needs and requirements, Mercedes said. Rear-wheel-drive and four-wheel-drive variants will continue to be available in the U.S.
Mercedes will share more information on pricing, trim levels, packaging, specifications and powertrains closer to the redesigned Sprinter’s launch later this year.
Mercedes sold 27,415 Sprinters in the U.S. in 2017, down 3.2 percent from the year before. Daimler AG sells the Sprinter under both the Mercedes-Benz and Freightliner brands in the U.S. The Sprinter’s U.S. retail network consists of 289 dealerships, including 247 Mercedes-Benz Vans dealerships.