M ercedes is on the road to success with its van strategy - 2015 was a record year in terms of sales, revenue and operating profit. Nevertheless, the transport business is now set to move forward with giant strides: 'We have to rethink transport in the city,' said Volker Mornhinweg, Head of Mercedes-Benz Vans, in advance of the presentation of the Vision Van. Why? “In order to reduce traffic.” Mornhinweg thus takes the changes of the last two to three years into account: In the transport business, too, people place less value on property, they want to rent - even if it's only for an hour or two. In the future, Mercedes wants to meet customer requirements in a kind of 360-degree all-round business and also offer transport as a sharing model. This enables transport and logistics companies to better buffer delivery peaks like in the Christmas business by simply renting the vans from Mercedes.
With the Vision Van, Mercedes is presenting the corresponding van study for urban areas . As a complete system, the vehicle integrates a large number of technologies for delivery on the last mile. With the design, he anticipates the transporter generation of the day after tomorrow.
Parcels are loaded and unloaded automatically
The future of the transport industry lies in system solutions for logistics, a good transporter is only one link in the chain. With the Vision Van, Mercedes is presenting its concept for such an integrated approach. The Vision Van has been networked to an unprecedented degree and is intended to guarantee a seamless, digital process chain from the goods distribution center to the recipient.
It all starts with the picking of the load.Each parcel is automatically loaded into a loading module based on an optimally pre-calculated delivery route, then the module as a whole moves to the loading space of the Vision Van. A whole series of moving robots from the provider Starship will find space there. They can hold up to 10 kilograms, monitor their surroundings with nine cameras and can then deliver the goods in the city center themselves or the respective parcel is automatically made available for delivery on site.
At the same time, the system supplies two electrically powered drones with a payload of two kilograms each with deliveries that they can deliver autonomously within a radius of ten kilometers. Of course, the whole process is managed and monitored via a cloud. Deliveries should be faster and more efficient.
Whisper-quiet with a purely electric drive
But also the Mercedes Vision Van itself has it all. The extremely wide windshield of the round-sucked van is intended to improve visibility. The black panel grille enables communication with the environment via an LED matrix. A corresponding module can also be found on the rear of the vehicle. And of course the headlights also use LED technology. The Vision Van is powered purely electrically by a 75 kW and 270 Nm electric motor on the rear axle. The battery system in the vehicle floor has a modular structure and can cover ranges from 80 to 270 km. The Vision Van could be 120 km /h fast, but is electronically captured at 80 things.
The cockpit is futuristic. In favor of drive-by-wire control using a joystick, the designers dispensed with the steering wheel, pedals and center console. The entire area in front of the driver is used for information exchange and as a user interface. The cab floor could be kept level without a transmission tunnel. For this, the driver's seat was pulled forward and the space gained was added to the loading compartment. Nevertheless, the freedom of movement should have increased.