Mercedes-Benz will pivot to its new electrified Van.ea architecture starting in 2026, with new offerings both in the commercial and private vehicle spaces based on the new all-electric modular platform that will eventually replace the platform underpinning the existing Sprinter. And while the company has no name for it yet (in other words, it’s probably not going to be Metris), one of the first products to launch on the new platform will be a midsize passenger van with the luxury appointments one expects from the Mercedes-Benz badge.
The Van.ea architecture is meant for midsize and large products, with the former representing the core overlap between private transportation and commercial offerings. Mercedes-Benz says its private Van.ea models will be pure Mercedes-Benz offerings, with upscale cabins and high-tech features, while its commercial vans will continue in the Metris/Sprinter tradition, only electrified. The rollout will begin in 2026, and Mercedes-Benz says America will be part of that transition — a first for the USA.
That’s right; the USA (alongside China) will see the new passenger-oriented midsize van. Mercedes cautioned us not to use the existing European V-Class model to frame our expectations; what we see here should be more luxurious, and it will be marketed as part of the core Mercedes-Benz lineup, not as a commercial offering. Separately, Mercedes will still offer upfit packages and coordinate with aftermarket providers for its Sprinter and eSprinter lineups and has plans to remain in the RV space.
On the subject of existing nameplates: Where exactly do they fit? eSprinter, for example, is already slated to arrive in the United States for 2024. That hasn’t changed. Mercedes says its existing van platforms will be gradually phased out, with their petroleum-based powertrains being offered in parallel to the Van.ea rollout. Gasoline- and diesel-powered variants will remain in production as long as demand remains, and Mercedes says that should be at least a decade, if not more, even after the eSprinter is replaced by a new Van.ea starting in ’26.
Why the slow roll? Mercedes says its customers are split on electrification. Some want it right away; in fact, many are being compelled or incentivized by regulators who are pushing for a quick transition. But the fleets that need EVs to hit ambitious sustainability goals are only part of the market. Mercedes expects about 20% of its customers to be EV buyers by 2026, with that number rising to 50% by 2030.
While eSprinters and future vans will be built in the United States, Mercedes has no current public plans to build batteries in the USA. Company representatives did not say that the option had been ruled out. Even under the new provisions of the Inflation Reduction Act, electric vans are already profitable for Mercedes — just not as profitable as their gasoline- and diesel-burning counterparts.