Mercedes-Benz's lineup of vans will look quite different by the decade's end. The automaker has announced that it will launch a new battery-electric vehicle platform in 2026, underpinning all future mid- and full-size models. The new VAN.EA architecture will allow it to offer private luxury vans in the US for the first time whilst expanding its portfolio of camper van offerings.
The new platform is comprised of three distinct blocks. The front block is the same in every variant, housing the electric powertrain and front axle. The centre block determines the vehicle's length and is where Mercedes installs the batteries. The automaker will offer the rear block in two versions – one with an electric motor (giving a van all-wheel drive) and one without.
Gallery: Mercedes-Benz VAN.EA Platform
The company's private luxury vans (VAN.EA-P) will fall into the mid-size segment, with a targeted range of "well over" 310 miles (500 kilometres). It'll launch with SAE Level 2 automated driving technology, with Level 3 planned by 2030. The platform will also allow the company to differentiate the exterior styling between the passenger and commercial models.
It will design the commercial vans (VAN.EA-C) for functionality, range, cargo space, and payload capacity, using the scalable design for vehicles like ambulances and motorhomes. The vans will also launch with SAE Level 2, but the company hopes to realise Level 4 technology by the end of the decade.
Mercedes developed VAN.EA from scratch and specifically for battery-electric vehicles. It hopes that the new architecture will reduce complexity and increase economies of scale as it searches for growth, including focusing on the US market. It hopes to attract new customers with private luxury vans and an expanded portfolio of motorhomes with a new line of mid-size and full-size electric camper vans.
The automaker will produce its new VAN.EA models alongside the combustion-powered Sprinter, which will continue production depending on demand. The new electric eSprinter that will launch in the US later this year will get replaced with a VAN.EA-based successor after the new platform launches in 2026. We shouldn't have to wait long for Mercedes to reveal the architecture's variants when the new platform arrives. However, the company would not offer specific debut dates.