Archive for July, 2010

The new Mercedez-Benz Vito E-CELL

Tuesday, July 27th, 2010

With the first battery-electric van to be introduced ex factory by any automobile manufacturer, Mercedes-Benz is opening a new chapter in drive technology for light commercial vehicles. Thanks to its emission-free drive system, the Mercedes-Benz Vito E-CELL is ideally suitable for inner-city operations and for particularly environmentally sensitive areas. The Vito E-CELL operates with no emissions and almost silently, and imposes no restrictions on the operator in terms of load capacity and payload. Production of a small series of 100 Vito E-CELL vans has already commenced this year, and a further 2000 units are planned from 2011.
Mercedes Vitos for sale at

Quiet, emission-free driving in environmentally sensitive areas

Deliveries to inner-city areas and pedestrian precincts, operations in areas with rigorous access restrictions, in-company transport in production shops, delivery access via underground car parks – the quiet, emission-free Mercedes-Benz Vito E-CELL with its purely battery-electric drive system is the perfect answer to the question of delivery operations in environmentally sensitive areas. Moreover, the Vito E-CELL is not only able to carry out its transport assignments in areas with high exhaust pollution, but also where there are noise restrictions protecting e.g. health resorts or in residential areas with night-time driving bans.

In response to the growing environmental burden in the densely populated areas of Europe and other regions of the world, the relevant authorities are increasingly introducing vehicle access restrictions in the form of environmental zones based on emissions or with time constraints. Emission-free vehicles with electric drive are usually exempted. Accordingly the Vito E-CELL is eminently suitable for environmentally sensitive areas, both in commercial and public service operations, and in many areas of the service sector including e.g. parcel and postal deliveries, maintenance work and for other service providers.

There are also numerous incentive schemes for the purchase of emission-free vehicles. These are available in many countries and take widely different forms, ranging from direct purchasing subsidies to significant reductions in toll charges or vehicle taxes and exemption from access restrictions.

The Vito E-CELL is also considerably less expensive to operate. A comparison between the current diesel price and the cost of electrical power shows a factor of four to seven. This means that for the same driving distance, a Vito powered by an internal combustion engine incurs four to seven times the costs of a Vito E-CELL recharged overnight with low-priced off-peak power.

In densely populated areas the future belongs to electric drive

Experts are convinced that in highly populated areas with dense infrastructures, where exhaust and noise pollution levels are high, the future belongs to electrically powered vehicles. Additional incentives include a sense of responsibility on the part of businesses and not least the public relations effect of “clean” drive systems.

Another motivating factor for the development of vehicles with electric drive is the conservation of finite resources such as oil, as well as the political will for greater independence where energy supplies are concerned.

As a pioneer in automobile development and production, Mercedes-Benz has the stated aim of safeguarding and shaping the mobility of the future on a sustainable basis with innovative technologies. The focus is on ecologically justifiable drive technologies such as those collectively termed BlueEFFICIENCY at Mercedes-Benz. The clear objective is emission-free driving, and Mercedes-Benz Vans has come another step closer to this goal with the Vito E-CELL.

All good things come in threes: vans with diesel, gas and battery- electric drive

The Vito E-CELL rounds off the wide range of environmentally compatible vans bearing the Mercedes star to form an ecological trio catering for practically all conceivable operations from specialised short-range to extreme long-distance transport. The lineup has continuously further developed and now almost perfected internal combustion engine systems, natural gas and LPG drive systems, and now purely electric drive.

Mercedes-Benz benefits from a wealth of experience

The Vito E-CELL is based on the wealth of experience in the field of electric drive systems that Mercedes-Benz has accumulated over the decades. As early as 1972 Mercedes-Benz developed its first electric van, the LE 306, which was soon followed by a first large-scale trial with the Mercedes-Benz 307 E. Further experimental vehicles followed with the Mercedes-Benz 308 E and the electrically powered Sprinter, and these are still in customer operations under real conditions today, for example on the North Sea island of Heligoland.

The next step to series production was however always foiled by inadequate battery technology. Apart from insufficient long-term durability, this limited both the payload and operating range to the extent that professional operation in larger numbers was not a viable proposition.

The way is now being cleared by modern lithium-ion batteries with a high energy density, supported by intelligent charging strategies and innovative driving strategies that were not possible in the past. The company is driving the development of new battery systems ahead at full speed, by conducting research and cooperating with partners. The Vito E-CELL will benefit from this when the impending series production commences.

Vito E-CELL: no restrictions in load capacity and payload

With its operating range of around 130 km, the Vito E-CELL meets average customer requirements for a daily van mileage of approx. 50-80 km with a considerable safety margin. At the same time the van’s load compartment is usable with no restrictions whatever. With a payload of around 900 kg depending on equipment specifications, the Vito E-CELL is in every respect a fully-fledged van. Thanks to a top speed of 80 km/h it is also suitable for the short inter-urban stretches that frequently occur in densely populated areas and suburbs.

Externally it is only the decor of the Vito E-CELL that distinguishes it from the familiar appearance of the conventionally powered Vito, as the body is completely unmodified. Even the charging socket has found its place behind the flap usually concealing the fuel filler pipe in the lower section of the B-pillar on the left side of the vehicle. The ground clearance and angle of approach/departure are also practically unchanged compared to the Vito with an internal combustion engine. The Vito E-CELL is therefore equally suitable for facilities with steep ramps and approaches.

Powerful electric motor with high drive torque

In place of the usual four and six-cylinder engines plus peripheral units of the Vito, the engine cover of the Vito E-CELL conceals the electric motor and its ancillary systems. The electric motor, a permanent synchronous unit, develops a continuous output of 60 kW and a peak output of 70 kW. Maximum torque is 280 Nm.

As the full torque is inherently available right from the start in electric motors, the Vito E-CELL delivers dynamic performance at the familiar, high level of modern diesel engines. In view of the typical operating profile for the Vito E-CELL, and in the interests of maximising the operating range of the batteries, the van’s top speed is limited to 80 km/h.

Power is transferred to the front wheels via a single-speed transmission. This efficient unit was likewise developed specifically for the Vito E-CELL.

Vito E-CELL: the only Vito with front-wheel drive

To save installation space for the batteries, and in contrast to the other models in the Vito series, the vehicle has front-wheel drive. With the exception of a few suspension components adopted from the Vito 4×4, the front-wheel drive system was specially developed for the Vito E-CELL.

In addition to the electric motor, other components such as the power electronics, transformer and the mains charging unit are accommodated beneath the engine cover. The 12 V onboard network was also completely newly developed.

High-capacity lithium-ion drive batteries

The batteries are housed under the load compartment floor, where the propshaft and fuel tank are usually located in the Vito. The batteries are modern lithium-ion units with a high performance and load capacity, a high energy density and a nominal voltage of 360 volts. The total capacity of the batteries is 36 kWh, of which 32 kWh are available to power the vehicle. This proportion of around 90 percent is an outstandingly high figure compared to other electrically powered vehicles.

The battery pack of the Vito E-CELL consists of 16 modules with a total of 192 cells. Each of these cells is monitored by a battery management system. To avoid unnecessary power losses and the risk of damage caused by unauthorised persons when the vehicle is parked, a safety system (“Watchdog”) deactivates the high-voltage network when not in use.

Water-cooled electrical components

The batteries, electric motor, converter and other electrical components of the drive system are water-cooled. Unlike an internal combustion engine, an electric motor does not reach its greatest efficiency at around 100 degrees Celsius, but at approx. 30 degrees Celsius. To ensure pleasant conditions for the driver during the colder months of the year despite these comparatively low temperatures, the Vito E-CELL is equipped with a heater booster. This is connected to the high-voltage network and the standard heating circuit in the instrument panel.

Full battery at the charging station after six hours at most

The batteries are charged at charging stations provided to the pilot customers by the two energy providers EnBW and Vattenfall. These companies are participating in the customer trials as cooperation partners in the Berlin (Vattenfall) and Stuttgart (EnBW) regions. The charging stations are installed on the business premises of the fleets involved. The charging socket of the Vito E-CELL is connected to the station using a standard seven-pin charging cable.

The batteries of the Vito E-CELL are charged at 380/400 volt mains. The onboard chargers have an output of 6.1 kW. The charging time depends on the charge status of the batteries, and takes a maximum of six hours if the batteries are fully discharged.

Using an additional charging cable with a conventional domestic power plug, the Vito E-CELL can also be charged from the 230 volt mains if required. This may become necessary if the van is not at the charging station provided when left overnight. In this case the charging time is doubled, however.

Intelligent charging technologies lower CO2 emissions and costs

The design of the Vito E-CELL incorporates intelligent charging technology to reduce both CO2 emissions and costs. The necessary charging intervals are defined with the customer depending on the van’s operating profile.

The Vito E-CELL features a Smart Charge Communication Unit (SCCU) as standard, making intelligently controlled charging possible. This ensures that within the defined period, the van is charged precisely when the energy providers supply “green” electrical power at off-peak, overnight rates. The result is a further, drastic reduction in CO2 emissions within the overall energy balance of the Vito E-CELL (“Well to Wheel”), quite apart from the vehicle’s zero-emission performance during actual operation.

Moreover, at the multifunction steering wheel and in the instrument cluster, the charging units can be individually set to charge at times when not only ecologically generated, but also low-cost electrical power is available. This can also be done centrally on a PC by the scheduler. The SCCU also allows parallel charging of several vehicles in a fleet, without overloading the mains network.

Apart from this, the ability to charge the batteries at the company’s own charging station or power sockets opens up intriguing perspectives: no more time-consuming trips to the filling-station, and if tours are cleverly planned neither the drivers nor fleet management need to worry about energy supplies for the vehicles.

Schedulers can control Vito E-CELL assignments according to charge status

Vehicle availability can also be calculated depending on the charge status of the batteries. A scheduler is able to call up the charge status and therefore the available operating range of the Vito E-CELL on his computer screen, and precisely determine whether a particular van is able to carry out an additional assignment at short notice.

All these intelligent control possibilities protect the environment while optimising customer benefits individually in widely differing businesses and operating conditions. At the same time these complex controls reduce loads on the batteries as far as possible, prolonging their operating life.

Recuperation: braking energy converted into electrical power

In the interests of maximising the operating range of the Vito E-CELL, its batteries are also charged by energy recuperation while on the move, i.e. by converting braking energy into electrical power. Recuperation not only takes place when operating the brakes, but also on the overrun and when reducing speed. All this is in interaction with the new ESP® system.

Based on the long-wheelbase Vito

The Vito E-CELL is based on the long-wheelbase Mercedes-Benz Vito with a standard roof. The long wheelbase of 3200 mm provides the necessary underbody space for the traction batteries. With a permissible gross vehicle weight of 3050 kg, the approx. 900 kg payload of the Vito E-CELL is surprisingly high.

This large transport capacity is firstly due to the relatively compact and therefore light lithium-ion battery, which has a high energy density compared to conventional accumulators. Secondly, it is not least due to intelligent integration of the electric drive system into the bodyshell.

The Vito E-CELL is available with both left and right-hand drive.

Extensive and practically oriented standard equipment

The equipment level of the Vito E-CELL has in no way suffered from the efforts to achieve the highest possible payload. In addition to the heater booster, all 100 Vito E-CELL vans have an extensive range of standard equipment plus a heatable luxury seat for the driver, 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.

A reversing camera with a monitor in the cab’s COMAND system and the reverse warning device ensure that when manoeuvring at slow speed, the driver is able to recognise obstacles and also quickly notice pedestrians who have not heard the quiet Vito E-CELL approaching.

Active and passive safety at the highest level

The Vito E-CELL has the same, exemplary level of safety as all Vito models with an internal combustion engine. In the event of a collision the batteries are protected by a crash element. When the airbag control unit is triggered, the high-voltage technology is automatically deactivated. The Vito E-CELL has already impressively demonstrated its high safety standard in several crash tests. And should a Vito E-CELL be involved in an accident, the emergency services have special recovery guidelines available to them.

Active safety is also at the acknowledged, high level found in every Vito with an internal combustion engine. Like all other Vito models, the Vito E-CELL features a fully-fledged Electronic Stability Program (ESP) with all the familiar functions, plus a driver airbag and double co-driver airbag.

Mercedes-Benz has ensured a high level of operating safety with extensive trials. To this end, more than a dozen Vito E-CELL vans have undergone extended test drives both on enclosed test tracks and on the roads. Whether in the icy conditions of Scandinavia or the heat of Spain – the Vito E-CELL has already demonstrated its high everyday practicality during the trial phase.

The Vito E-CELL is produced on the same line as the conventional Vito

In contrast to other electrically powered vans, Mercedes-Benz is the first manufacturer to produce the Vito E-CELL on the same lines, together with all the other Vito models, in its Vitoria plant. This further demonstrates that the Vito E-CELL is by no means an experimental vehicle or a prototype, but rather a van on its way to series production.

In view of the completely different drive configuration including a front-wheel drive module, the battery pack under the load compartment floor and the omission of many components, numerous changes and special training for all the personnel involved were necessary in production.

100 Vito E-CELL vans with fleet operators in two cities

Mercedes-Benz will deliver 100 Vito E-CELL vans to customers between August and December this year. Half each will be taken into operation in Berlin and Stuttgart, and further units will be used in the Basque region of Spain early next year, i.e. on the homeground of the Vito E-CELL. The main areas of operation are therefore concentrated on densely populated areas. These not only differ in size but also in topographical terms, ensuring different operating conditions and therefore additional findings.

The customers concerned are predominantly fleet operators. Both the fleet managers and drivers are being intensively trained in the control and operation of the Vito E-CELL, and carefully familiarised with its special features. This also extends to separate operating instructions for the Vito E-CELL.

The usual high quality of service thanks to well-trained personnel

Both in Berlin and Stuttgart, two workshop partners will be responsible for servicing the Vito E-CELL. Their personnel are undergoing thorough theoretical and practical training as a multi-stage process. Service specialists will also be on hand during the start-up phase in case unforeseen problems occur. The European emergency call center operated by Mercedes-Benz in Maastricht is also able to answer queries.

Mercedes-Benz is ensuring the customary, high quality of service processing for the Vito E-CELL. The van absolves the standardised workshop processes, and is e.g. diagnosed using the existing diagnostic systems. This further demonstrates the practically-oriented configuration of the Vito E-CELL with a view to series production.

Innovative business model: monthly user charge rather than purchase price

The customer trials for the Vito E-CELL are scheduled for four years and roughly 80,000 km per vehicle, after which the 100 vans will be returned to Mercedes-Benz. For this reason the customers are not purchasing their vehicles, but rather renting and financing them by paying a monthly user charge which also includes all the servicing for the Vito E-CELL. Ideally the 100 Vito E-CELL vans will cover a total of around eight million kilometres in roughly one dozen fleets during the customer trials – which will provide an unrivalled wealth of experience for the further development of electric drive systems in light commercial vehicles.

Financial support from the federal government

The Vito E-CELL project is being supported from the public purse in various ways. Within the support period, Vito E-CELL customers are able to use the van at no charge for several months. The financial resources are being provided by the German federal government as part of its Economic Support Package II, in which the Federal Ministry of the Environment and Nature Conservation is supporting the development and industrialisation of the Vito E-CELL. This applies to the production and testing of experimental vehicles, as well as the 50 vans for the customer trials in Berlin.

While large fleet operators are the main concern in Berlin, the focus of the customer trials to be held in parallel in Stuttgart is on both tradesmen and fleets. In this case the Federal Ministry of Transport, Construction and Urban Development is supporting customer operations in the Stuttgart pilot region for electro-mobility.

In Spain the Basque government is assisting with the construction of the special production facilities for the Vito E-CELL.

In parallel with the practical trials, Mercedes-Benz will evaluate data such as route profiles, operating ranges and other parameters in order to tailor electrically powered vehicles even more precisely to customer requirements.

Next step: series production of the Vito E-CELL starting soon

Mercedes-Benz will have built the small series of 100 vans at the Vitoria plant by the late autumn of this year. The next steps are already scheduled: a further 2000 units are already planned from 2011.


Wednesday, July 21st, 2010

All Citroën LCVs are now available with the Trafficmaster Smartnav and Trackstar stolen vehicle tracking package. This important Citroën LCV enhancement follows an earlier initiative to fit – as standard – all Berlingo, Dispatch and Relay panel vans with the technology.
Now, with this new offer, Citroen Nemo van, Berlingo First van and all other Combi and chassis variants can optionally take up this telematics package at the subsidised price of £399 + VAT (including three years’ subscription) – a saving compared to the normal retail price of the package, which is in excess of £1,200 + VAT.
Citroen vans with Smartnav at
Charles Peugeot, Head of Commercial Vehicles and Business Sector, comments; “Citroën has long recognised that advanced telematics plays a key role in improving vehicle and driver productivity as well as delivering financial, safety and environmental gains. As such, Citroën fits Trafficmaster Smartnav satellite navigation as standard to more LCVs than any other manufacturer.

Facelifted Mercedes-Benz Vito

Wednesday, July 21st, 2010

The Mercedes-Benz Vito is to undergo a mild faclift – focused more on the engines, suspension and payload than the outward appearance of the van. Key changes to the facelifted model are its improved payload, reduced noise levels, new suspension plus an upgraded cockpit. Mercedes Vito Vans for sale on
CO2 emissions and fuel consumption have been reduced by up to 15 percent compared with the previous models. This is achieved through Mercedes=-Benz BlueEFFICIENCY technology, which includes an ECO start/stop system and optimised low-resistance tyres. The new six-speed transmission, standard in combination with all four-cylinder diesel engines, also helps reduce emissions and fuel consumption. Its broad gear ratio spread allows excellent traction at low speeds, while at higher speeds revs and thus fuel consumption are reduced.

The main external changes re the new, sturdy bumpers. And a new headlamp design.

Iveco launches new 7.0 tonne Iveco Daily and Iveco EcoDaily

Wednesday, July 21st, 2010

Iveco has extended its range of Daily and EcoDaily light commercials with the UK launch of a series of new 7.0 tonne models in van, chassis cab and crew cab configuration. The 7.0 tonne models offer an increase in payload capacity of 470 kg compared to regular 6.5 tonne variants, providing over 4,700 kg of body and payload capacity for chassis cab models – more than many medium range trucks.
Iveco Daily vans For Sale at Vanlocator
The new models supplement the existing 6.0 and 6.5 tonne models and offer Daily operators additional payload capacity within a vehicle ideally suited to urban operations, thanks to a narrow chassis width of just 2,174 mm. It also opens up a significant new market opportunity for Iveco, providing a viable option for fleets running lightweight 7.5 tonners over short distances, which don’t need the full scope of a Eurocargo.
Commenting on the launch, Martin Flach, Product Director of Iveco UK, says: “We’re expecting significant interest from fleets which have a requirement to deliver heavier goods in an urban environment, such as newspapers, stationery and drinks. The vehicle recovery sector is also a prime target market and one where the Iveco range is already very popular.”
A fully-laden 7.0 tonne EcoDaily can transport a load equivalent to more than that of three regular 3.5 tonners combined. It gives light vehicle operators the ability to reduce their total emissions by over 60 per cent through using one vehicle instead of three.
A single van model is offered – the EcoDaily 70C17 – which represents one of the largest panel vans available on the market in the UK, offering a load carrying capacity of 17.2 m³ and a maximum payload of 4,100 kg, which enables up to six Euro pallets to be carried. Power is provided by a 3.0 litre engine which meets the EEV standard. The chassis cab and crew cab models are available to order with a choice of four wheelbase lengths comprising 3,450, 3,750, 4,350 or 4,750mm.
Like all Daily and EcoDaily variants, the new 7.0 tonners can be specified with either a six-speed manual gearbox or the optional AGile automated transmission which can be used in either automatic or manual sequential mode. The arrival of the 7.0 tonne Daily and EcoDaily models complement the existing 6.0 and 6.5 tonne variants and follows the UK launch of Iveco’s new light commercial vehicle product range in January 2010. It sees the line-up expanded into this new market segment for the first time, compared with the Daily’s previous 3.5 – 6.5 tonne reach.
To mark the launch, Iveco is matching the price of all 7.0 tonne variants against the equivalent 6.5 tonne model for all retail orders taken during 2010.

New Mercedes-Benz Viano Launched

Thursday, July 1st, 2010

The Mercedes-Benz Viano raises the benchmark for comfort, material quality and efficiency in large-capacity vehicles to a whole new level. The improved interior of both cockpit and passenger compartment sets new standards, as does an efficient new drive system. The vehicle’s unique BlueEFFICIENCY technology, which comes as standard, ensures maximum fuel economy and minimum environmental impact. The new suspension offers comfort in conjunction with driving enjoyment and active safety, while the fresh styling of the Viano takes cues from the current Mercedes-Benz passenger car range to give the Viano a character all of its own.
Interior: comfort and operating convenience better than ever
New interior trim materials improve the look of the Viano significantly and improve its inherent functionality still further. A key feature of a new lighting concept for the passenger compartment is the impressive ambient lighting system. This comprises individual LED reading lamps as well as fibre optic units, while the whole system can be dimmed. New optional extras such as the Rear Seat Entertainment system enhance passenger travel comfort. Both driver and passengers ride in style on seats with redesigned upholstery. The upgrading of the cockpit ranges from new control buttons to a four-spoke multi-function steering wheel. All vehicle occupants benefit from significantly reduced noise levels.
New suspension melds ride comfort, driving enjoyment and active safety
At the heart of the new suspension is a combination of ride comfort, driving enjoyment and active safety that takes the handling safety as well as the comfort of the vehicle to hitherto unknown levels. Both front and rear axles have been revised in every detail and specially tuned to match each specific model. As a result the Viano’s handling is precise, predictable and safe, while it also delivers excellent performance in terms of comfort, ride and noise.
Drive system: extremely clean and economical BlueEFFICIENCY technology
Exceptional efficiency, delivering low emissions and fuel consumption, is key to the new drive system. In all versions, the Viano meets EU 5 emission standards. CO2 emissions and fuel consumption could be reduced by up to 15 percent compared with the previous models, giving record figures.
In conjunction with the sophisticated engineering of the current generation of four and six-cylinder Mercedes-Benz engines, this is achieved through the BlueEFFICIENCY technology that comes as standard on the Viano. This encompasses on-demand activation of major assemblies, an ECO start/stop system and optimised low-resistance tyres. The new six-speed transmission, standard in combination with all four-cylinder diesel engines, also helps reduce emissions and fuel consumption. Its broad gear ratio spread allows excellent traction at low speeds, while at higher speeds revs and thus fuel consumption are reduced.
The smooth-running four and six-cylinder diesel and petrol engines in the Viano range in output from 100 kW (126 hp) to 190 kW (258 hp).
New look emphasises independent character
Externally, the new generation Mercedes-Benz Viano is differentiated from previous models by a new, distinctive headlamp design reminiscent of the current
Mercedes-Benz passenger car range and by a redesigned rear end. This gives the
Mercedes-Benz Viano a more independent character than ever before.

Mercedes-Benz Vario Still Going Strong

Thursday, July 1st, 2010

The Mercedes-Benz Vario is undergoing a facelift and is set to receive a new drivetrain. To meet the requirements of future emissions standards, the Vario will be converted to include a new engine featuring new exhaust technology that will supplement the tried-and-trusted SCR technology and meet the Euro 6 standard. The Vario will also continue to be produced in the Ludwigsfelde plant beyond 2013.
Mercedes Vario for sale at trucklocator
The long-standing market success of the Vario in the high-capacity van segment is testimony to the sound investment in the vehicle and in the Ludwigsfelde plant near Berlin. The largest member of the Mercedes-Benz van product family not only combines the high load capacity of a ‘light truck’ with the agile handling characteristics of a van, but offers an equally compelling proposition with its sophisticated product quality, reliability and unrivalled combination and special-purpose body options.

Thanks to its front engine, the Vario – unlike its ‘light truck’ counterparts – does not need a tilting cab, making it ideally suited to the van concept. The driver enjoys the benefit of convenient access from the cab to the rear section of the vehicle. As a result, the Vario can be used for applications such as parcel-delivery, emergency ambulance, mobile support unit, specialist shop or camper van.

The long wheelbase panel van can offer internal load space volumes of up to 17.4m², making it the largest panel van on the market. A low loading height, ideal for both forklift and handball operation augments the high payload making the vehicle ideally suited for long haul, heavy-duty distribution.

All in all, the Vario is the ideal tool for tomorrow’s challenges – even as it moves into its 15th year of production – thanks to its customised, flexible body options which are tailored precisely to customer requirements.