New Car: 2011 Mercedes Vito EV

Benz has announced a battery-powered version of its Vito light van will go into low-volume production this year.

The first factory-made vehicle of its kind from any auto maker, the lithium-ion battery powered Vito matches its conventionally powered siblings' load capacity of more than 900kg.

Mercedes-Benz has unveiled a prototype before a gathering of European political dignitaries at the EU Competitiveness Council meeting in the Spanish city of San Sebastián.

Throughout 2010, the company will deliver more than 100 of the vans to 20 customers, mainly fleet operators and public authorities. It is in its element on urban delivery runs and the like, involving short distances and multiple stops. Plans are afoot for another 2000 vehicles to follow.

The drivetrain was designed from scratch, sharing nothing with the conventional Vito's internal combustion packages. A 400V, 16A lithium-ion battery pack delivers 32kWh to a 90kW electric motor. The package gives the Vitos a range Benz says averages 130 km, but it can extend considerably beyond that, according to driving style and usage. Top speed is governed at 80 km/h.

It comes with Benz's usual panoply of primary and secondary safety systems including stability control, ABS, multiple airbags depending on specification and crash-tested passive systems -- enough to warrant four stars in Euro NCAP testing.

Thanks to: Car Point


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