With the Sustaineer concept, Mercedes is presenting a series of innovations likely to equip its utility vehicles in the coming years.
The world of utility is changing and Mercedes is trying to meet the different challenges of the last mile with SUSTAINEER (SUSTAINability pawnEER), a technology demonstrator based on the current version of the Sprinter.
Solar panels to optimize autonomy
Because the application is trendy on the concepts, the utility of the future of Mercedes could not escape the solar panels. Distributed between the roof and the front of the vehicle, 4.8 m² of photovoltaic cells have been integrated into the vehicle. Representing 850 Wp of installed power, these would make it possible to recover up to 828 kWh/year according to Mercedes, or the equivalent of a few thousand kilometres.
To optimize autonomy, Mercedes has also revised the heating system. Electric car users know it: a heated seat is both more efficient and less energy-consuming than conventional cabin ventilation. Mercedes goes further by supplementing the device with a heated seat belt. Developing up to 70 watts, the system offers three operating modes.
An air purifier utility
To address air quality issues, the Mercedes concept receives two particulate filters. The first is located at the front, at the level of the grille, while the second takes place at the rear. In addition to emissions specific to the vehicle itself, the system also makes it possible to recover particles in suspension emanating from the tires and brakes of other users.
While the concept is interesting, it is not new. Supplied by equipment manufacturer Mann+Hummel, the system had already been tested a few years ago on board a StreetScooter electric utility vehicle. To clean up cities, its use remains interesting. However, additional maintenance will be required. To continue to be effective, the filters should be changed at least every year or even every six months in cities where the level of pollution is highest.
To limit vehicle emissions, Mercedes has also reviewed its choice of materials. This is particularly the case with the brake discs, but also with the tyres. Using a new low rolling resistance rubber, these new generation tires reduce consumption and limit emissions thanks to reduced abrasion.
More practical in everyday life
Beyond the ecological aspect, the Sustaineer concept also thinks about the comfort of the drivers. The manufacturer has notably imagined a Speed Delivery Door. Sensor-controlled, this double leaf door opens and unlocks automatically. Facilitating the work of delivery people, it is already offered on certain brand utilities.
Security has not been forgotten with the integration of cameras almost everywhere. Traditional rear-view mirrors have thus been replaced by rear-view cameras that are both lighter and more compact. Added to this is another screen which gives an exterior view directly from the cell.
Soon in series?
Will the equipment integrated on board the Sustaineer demonstrator one day be on board a production vehicle? Perhaps, but still it will be necessary that the effectiveness is demonstrated and that the demand is there.
In the meantime, we know that Mercedes is working on the next generation of the electric Sprinter. Expected at the end of 2023 in Europe, version 2.0 of the eSprinter will offer more autonomy, but also more bodies than the current version, limited to a single van version. Some equipment from the Sustaineer concept could also be integrated.