Mercedes sure is excited about the future of vans. First it showed us its F 105 lounge on wheels, then late last year the designers really went all out with the Vision Tokyo, which premiered at the motor show in the Japanese capital. That transport pod, the length of an E-Class, featured gullwing doors, 26in wheels and coated windows. Mercedes even boasted of a theoretical range of 1,000km for the autonomous van.
Imagine that, a thousand kays in a van and you’re not even driving. Shuttle hell… But Mercedes still seems pretty thrilled about these things because here’s the third concept design in Stuttgart’s vision of future vannage, imaginatively named the Vision Van.
The Vision Van is expensive — it cost Mercedes more than half a billion dollars. To be precise, it showcases the company’s $560m (Dh2b) investment into digitalisation of Mercedes vans over the next five years. The carmaker set-up shop in places like Silicon Valley and Berlin to work with tech start-ups and study the future of vans. Mercedes is looking at becoming a transport systems’ solutions provider, or something like that, but what we’re really interested in is the hardware.
Mercedes says that by 2030 urban areas will be home to more than two-thirds of the world’s population and vans need to adapt. The all-electric Vision Van imagines a time when it’ll be able to park in a neighbourhood and deliver parcels around the suburb autonomously by air acting as a sort of HQ for the drones that will land and take off from its fully automated cargo space. That’s cool.
As for performance, all that’s required is a 75kW electric drive system good for between 80km to 270km of range, since the van’s drone and air armaments mean it doesn’t need to physically travel too far itself.
Sounds like it doesn’t even need a driver. Actually, sounds like it doesn’t even belong in this magazine. Sorry to have wasted your time…