Your Amazon Prime Day goodies could be arriving at your door by electric van in the future, after Mercedes-Benz announced the sale of 100 of its eVito electric vans to Amazon Logistics. The vans will deploy within Amazon’s fleet sometime in 2019.
The eVito has a range of 100 to 150 kilometers (62 to 93 miles) before needing a recharge, depending on use conditions. Primarily designed for urban environments, the eVito could be a great fit for Amazon, which tends to locate its distribution centers close to major cities.
It takes six hours to fully charge the eVito's three 41kWh batteries, and it can hit top speeds of 80-120 km/h (50-75 mph) while carrying a maximum payload of 1,073kg (2,366lbs), depending on how you configure the engine to save or test the battery life.
Mercedes claims its electric vans are “less expensive than diesel in the long run”, as the front-loaded cost for batteries will be “offset by lower energy and maintenance costs”. Lower distribution costs may factor more into Amazon’s investment into EVs than environmental concerns.
High-end fashion manufacturer Hermés has also bought into Mercedes’ pilot eVito program. Both Hermés and Amazon Logistics will test their vans in the German cities of Bochum and Düsseldorf, so you won’t see them in the US or UK just yet.
Mercedes also announced the eSprinter, the big brother to the eVito. The eSprinter’s max distance, speed and payload are nearly identical to the eVito’s, except with 10.5 m3 max cargo volume, compared to six m3.
The German automaker has plenty of other futuristic projects in the works, including an AI-powered car, support for virtual assistants like Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, and autonomous drone delivery.
A promising e-trend
Amazon isn’t the only major distributor to jump onto the EV bandwagon. UPS recently bought 35 electric trucks to test in Paris and London.
Ride-sharing companies are also buying into adding electric cars to their fleets. Uber just announced it would provide “monetary incentives” to drivers willing to purchase and use EVs for transporting passengers. And Zipcar just added 300 VW e-Golfs to its fleet in London.
Yet if Amazon fully buys into EVs for a good portion of its deliveries, and other distributors follow its lead, global emissions could be significantly impacted for the better.