Mercedes Sustaineer EV concept packs solar panels for greener deliveries

Mercedes-Benz has introduced a concept electric van based on its eSprinter model, demonstrating technologies that may one day make last-mile deliveries better for the environment. Called the Sustaineer, this EV concept is fully electric and designed to offer a sustainable experience in the city, including everything from a filter that helps clean the air while driving to solar panels on the van's roof.

Though the Sustaineer is only a concept at this time, Mercedes said in its announcement that the van was "designed with the possibility of series production in mind," meaning the concept's various tech may one day be applied to future vans from the automaker. The work underscores Mercedes' goal of going fully electric before 2030, though it notes that only applies to places where "market conditions allow."

Among Sustaineer's features are two fine particulate filters that help collect pollution from the road, brakes, and tire wear, as well as other vehicles. The concept features a fine particle sensor for determining air quality and adjusting the filtration level. Mercedes likewise designed the brakes with a ceramic coating to reduce the fine particles resulting from brake wear. The company also utilizes low rolling resistance tires to reduce particle emissions.

The Sustaineer's roof, meanwhile, is fitted with solar panels offering 850 watts of peak power, enabling the vehicles to passively generate clean electricity. The solar design enables the van concept to harvest energy even when the car is off, meaning a fleet of these vehicles could produce energy even when parked in a lot. Though the exact amount of energy produced would depend on sunlight availability, Mercedes says the concept would result in several thousand extra miles annually.

Other key features include efficient heating with heat delivered to the driver via the seat belt and steering wheel, "extensive" interior insulation, the use of recycled materials, a low-noise EV drivetrain and lower tire noise, the Speed Delivery Door that automatically opens when the driver leaves their seat, a camera to monitor road conditions, and more.