Mercedes Sprinter electric van turns 40October 17, 2020
This year, one of the most little-known but very interesting cars celebrates its anniversary – the electric prototype version of the legendary Mercedes-Benz T1 minibus, which is the direct predecessor of the Sprinter model. In 2020, the car turned 40 years old, in connection with which the German media decided to tell the details about the history of this car.
The experimental Mercedes electric car was born in 1980. The aim of its construction was to create a fully functional electric commercial vehicle prototype that offered exactly the same level of practicality as its counterpart with an internal combustion engine. The project was funded by the Federal Ministry for Research and Technology (BMFT), writes auto motor und sport.
The engineers of the German brand took the standard T1 as a basis and converted it to electricity. The car received the index 307E. The principal differences of the prototype were as follows. Between the two axles were two 90V lead-acid batteries. The batteries could be removed through the bottom of the minibus and, if necessary, easily replaced with new ones. At the same time, a 41 hp DC electric motor was used as a power plant.
With a new filling, the Mercedes T1 could take on board a load weighing up to 1.45 tons, reach a speed of 50-70 km / h and drive 65 km without refueling. The electric minibus was positioned exclusively as an urban commercial transport.
A total of 32 T1 electric prototypes were built by Mercedes and were tested on the roads of Berlin and Bonn between 1981 and the end of 1983. The company said in a report that these tests “can be assigned to electric vehicles in big cities.” Even then, the electric van was not inferior to the fuel Mercedes, its power reserve was quite enough for daily deliveries over short distances. However, the project did not go into series due to too high operating and maintenance costs, as well as the short life of lead-acid batteries. Nevertheless, the project cannot be called in vain – it was an important experience that provided technical and practical knowledge that was useful in the development of modern eVito and eSprinter electric vans.
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