Mercedes-Benz eVito Assessment — 1st Impressions


In Europe, vans are basically what pickup vans are within the USA. We even had a interval with double-cabin vans with smallish cargo house that had been used as personal vehicles, earlier than the SUV/CUV craze made them a greater different.

Not having vans from Audi, BMW, or Porsche, the vans from Mercedes-Benz are the highest of the van market. The smallest is the Citan, a rebranded Renault Kangoo with some Mercedes bling-bling. The center sized van is the Vito, and the massive van is the Sprinter. Vito and Sprinter are actual Mercedes-Benz automobiles, with the standard related to the identify.

For our North American readers, it sounds maybe unusual that Mercedes-Benz can be promoting vans, however it’s really one of many largest truck makers on the planet. Within the USA, it operates utilizing the manufacturers Freightliner and Western Star. A 12 months in the past, on the tenth of December 2021, the truck and bus division was spun off right into a separate firm listed on the inventory change. The vans stayed with the sunshine automobiles in Mercedes-Benz AG.

Start of the BEV

The Vito is about three a long time previous. The identify is derived from the place it’s assembled, Vitoria-Gasteiz in Spain. It sprouted two descendants, the Vito-Tourer, a mini-bus, and the V-class MPV. All three now have a completely electrical model, the eVito, the eVito-Tourer, and the EQV. After seeing ideas and prototypes of the EQV on the Geneva Worldwide Motor Present and different automotive reveals, my expectations had been excessive. The time Mercedes took to go from prototype to product made my expectations even increased.

Trying intently on the ultimate product is sobering. These are easy, simple conversions of the ICE fashions. Even the duvet of the gas tank opening continues to be current, however with nothing behind it. Vans have house for batteries beneath their cargo flooring — that solves an issue conversions of passenger automobiles had issue with. There was no have to sacrifice half the trunk or make the again seats just for youngsters. The BEVs constructed on ICE platforms — ensuing within the EQC and EQB — had been much better.


That is article about my first impressions of the eVito closed panel van, however we even have some exhausting details. The eVito is accessible in two lengths, known as L2 and L3. The wheelbase and cargo house of the L3 model is 23 cm, or 9 inches, longer than the L2 model. The measures of the L2 versus the L3 are: size — 514 cm (202.4”)/537 cm (211.4”), wheelbase — 320 cm (126”)/343 cm (135”), and cargo bay — 229 cm (90.1”)/252 cm (99.2”).

The additional size provides 35 kg to the mass of the car and €955 to its value, making the allowable load 35 kg smaller. However nonetheless, the eVito is the Vito with the largest allowable load — 867kg (L2)/832 kg(L3).

The battery has 60 kWh of vitality storage capability, sufficient for regular business use. This provides a variety between 200 km and 300 km in most use instances in non-extreme climate situations. The WLTP quantity is 314 km. At night time, it may cost with 11 kW from a degree 2 charger. It may possibly additionally use a DC charger with a max charging fee of 80 kW. For many model/mannequin/battery mixtures, the charging curve is within the Fastned database. The eVito has not been examined but, however most different Mercedes-Benz mannequin/battery mixtures have good flat charging curves.

The output of the 114HP/85kW motor is optimized with the usage of a CVT (steady variable transmission), ensuring this van not too lazy. It’s about as agile because the smallest diesel model. I believe this selection by Mercedes-Benz is a bit unusual. One of many main arguments to transition to electrical driving is healthier efficiency and dealing with. Electrical motors are smaller, much more highly effective, and sometimes cheaper than their diesel engine/transmission counterparts.

On the lookout for the smallest battery that may get the job completed is logical — low cost LFP batteries for business automobiles are proven at reveals like IAA Transport in Hannover, however will not be for present automobiles. Utilizing a motor that’s too small doesn’t make sense. The efficiency penalty of the weak motor is way larger than the worth penalty of an sufficient motor, say a 120 kW motor.

The liner of the cargo house with high-quality board is a pleasant contact. It protects the sheet metallic partitions and flooring towards the bumps which might be practically unavoidable with out the boards.

Driving Machine

An automated transmission is a rarity in European vans. Worse, most vans have terrible transmissions. That alone makes the driving expertise of the eVito in comparison with another van incomparable.

European metropolis planners have fallen in love with two security enhancements that may make driving hell even in a small automotive designed for European cities. These are mini roundabouts and velocity bumps. The eVito conquered them like a champ. I had a photographer as copilot who owned a diesel Vito till not too long ago. She was amazed by the efficiency on these two obstacles and the way it allowed for simpler driving.

However that is the place reward stops. Because the Mercedes consultant stated, it’s simply one other powertrain. I didn’t absolutely notice what that implied.

It was not simply that the duvet of the tank opening was nonetheless current, with solely the opening behind it lacking. The entire set of appendages {that a} driver makes use of to regulate a automotive was simply the identical as within the diesel model. To my disappointment, I did discover out that it actually was an quaint, fast and soiled conversion of a fossil gas car to a battery electrical car.

And it has a wierd quirk I don’t perceive. It at all times begins in ECO-mode, which has restricted energy and torque. Max velocity can be restricted on ECO-mode. It drives much more sluggish than its too-weak motor causes. I didn’t comprehend it till the final quarter-hour of the take a look at drive. And since it’s turned off by merely pushing the button, it will likely be a part of the beginning sequence of each driver that’s accustomed to driving in an eVito van. You begin with turning the important thing, disengaging the parking brake, placing the van in regular mode, and shifting from N to D.

The eVito Tourer begins in regular mode for driving. This quirk is simply irritating to incidental drivers not realizing the idiosyncrasies of the van.

Infotainment and Driving Help

Concerning the fashionable techniques we these days count on in an electrical automotive, I might be brief. There’s a small touchscreen within the middle. It has some form of routeplanner, there’s a crude cruise management, and it’s outdated. It’s seemingly from the time the present technology of the Vito got here to market, and it was not state-of-the-art in these days. It’s nowhere close to what you count on in an electrical car with the Mercedes star on the nostril.


I’m solely a really incidental person of vans. I did personal a van-based MPV, however that was a individuals provider. Extra exactly, a youngsters provider with 6 youngsters usually within the again. When my youngsters reached faculty age, I helped them transfer from scholar housing to different scholar housing a couple of instances.

However one in all my offspring is beginning a enterprise. They owned an older Vito a couple of years, till a smaller van grew to become extra financially accountable. Now they’re salivating over the eVito till their enterprise takes off they usually should purchase one. My recommendation to them is to attend for the following technology.

Mercedes is creating a brand new platform for its business vans and the individuals provider fashions primarily based on them, the eVito Tourer and EQV. However the introduction of the brand new platform is for 2026. Market growth, and I hope EU regulation, will incentivize Mercedes to improve the present fashions sooner. Even an interim improve such because the ESprinter is now receiving can do plenty of good. As I’ve described in “European Firm Automobile Market Goes Inexperienced,” in numerous European markets, the gross sales of recent automobiles for firm fleets might be BEV solely earlier than a brand new Mercedes platform hits the streets. To maintain present market share and even win some, the eVito, eVito Tourer, and EQV want an improve.

Images by Jolanda Vinkhuyzen.




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