Mercedes-Benz Vans accelerates electric transformation with future plans for European facilities

  • Reorganization of the production network planned for large vans in Europe
  • Realignment ensures competitiveness in the price-sensitive van segment and creates extensive future prospects for employees
  • Comprehensive investment to prepare for development and production of all-electric van architecture VAN.EA
  • Memorandum of Understanding for Strategic Partnership with Rivian for Joint Production of large all electric vans

Mercedes‑Benz Vans is adapting its European production setup as part of its strategy to attain leadership in electric mobility and to phase out fossil fuels. Mercedes-Benz Vans is already electrifying all of its model lines and offers all models in the mid-sized and large van segments with an electric drive. The impending availability of electric variants in the small van segment means there will soon be electric options across the entire Mercedes‑Benz Vans product line-up.

By the middle of this decade, all newly introduced vans by Mercedes-Benz will be electric only. To this end, Mercedes-Benz Vans is developing a completely new, modular, all-electric van architecture called VAN.EA. The company plans to invest in the development of this platform for purely electric medium-sized and large vans as well as in the production sites.

Although the carbon footprint of Mercedes‑Benz Vans will continue to fall, the shift to battery-electric vehicles also means a significant rise in the variable costs associated with new components. A robust and sustainable business model for the era of electric mobility therefore calls for new solutions in order to continue offering competitive products for our customers and to open up new long-term future prospects for our workforce.

The company is thus adapting its production network in Europe for large all-electric vans, thereby strengthening its market position and securing the long-term prospects of its German facilities.

“We traditionally operate in a highly competitive environment. This situation is continuously intensifying through the ever-increasing number of new providers entering our segment. It remains our commitment to offer the best vans and services – which means we have to be highly innovative and competitive in all areas,” says Mathias Geisen, Head of Mercedes‑Benz Vans. “We want to retain our position as the only van manufacturer producing large vans in Germany – despite the increasing costs associated with the e-mobility transformation. To achieve this, we are aligning our European production network. Incorporating an all-new production facility leveraging an existing Mercedes‑Benz site in Central/Eastern Europe into that network will help us secure the long-term competitiveness of our German plants and enable the successful transition of Mercedes-Benz Vans into the electric era.”

Adaptation of European production network for large vans

The Mercedes-Benz plant in Düsseldorf is the largest Mercedes‑Benz Vans production plant, and is already building the current generation of the Sprinter and eSprinter. Soon the next generation of the eSprinter will roll off the production line. Looking to the future, the open body styles (platform for body builders or flatbeds) of the large VAN.EA will be built there. The planned investments to make the necessary adaptations at the plant total around 400 million euros.

The Mercedes‑Benz plant in Ludwigsfelde has been building the open body type of the current Sprinter generation since 2018. The next generation of the eSprinter (open model) will also be produced in this plant soon. Beyond this, the company is also considering establishing the Ludwigsfelde plant as a competence centre for the individualisation of electric vans.

The adaptation of the production network for large all-electric vans will see an established plant from the Mercedes-Benz AG production network based in Central/Eastern Europe incorporated into the Mercedes‑Benz Vans production network. In the future, the large vans (closed model/panel van) based on VAN. EA basis will be produced here. Through this move, Mercedes-Benz Vans wants to take advantage of cost benefits that will enable it to secure its long-term competitiveness.

Discussions on the plans in Germany are scheduled to commence shortly between company management and employee representatives. The implementation of the respective plans will be carried out locally and is subject to the agreement of all relevant boards for this step following a successful completion of negotiations.

Ergun Lümali, Dep. Chairman of the Supervisory Board and Chairman of the Works Council of Mercedes‑Benz Group AG:

“The transformation to electromobility is well underway at Mercedes-Benz Vans. The General Works Council is ensuring that this shift happens in a way which is fair and socially acceptable. Despite all the price sensitivity in the van segment, we as employee representatives demand in the envisaged realignment of the European production network for large vans, that the two German locations have long-term and clear future prospects and that large vans with the three-pointed star will continue being produced in Germany. The planned production setup will bring about changes, so it is even more important now to engage in constructive discussions together with the works councils in Düsseldorf and Ludwigsfelde. As part of the long-term plans for both locations, we clearly have the interests of our colleagues in mind and that means security and opportunity, also in the future.”

Mercedes-Benz Vans and Rivian sign Memorandum of Understanding

Mercedes-Benz Vans and Rivian have signed a Memorandum of Understanding for a strategic partnership. The companies intend to establish a new joint venture manufacturing company with the purpose of investing in, and operating, a factory in Europe to produce large electric vans for both Mercedes‑Benz Vans and Rivian, starting in a few years. The target is to build an all-new electric-only production facility leveraging an existing Mercedes‑Benz site in Central/Eastern Europe. With this cooperation, Mercedes‑Benz Vans is taking another step in its transformation into a manufacturer of exclusively electric vans and strengthening its long-term market position. Further information on the planned cooperation is available here:

Next generations of large electric vans

Mercedes-Benz Vans is continuously developing its current models. With three battery variants and multiple body styles ranging from panel van to chassis cabs for box bodies, the next-generation eSprinter aims not only to capture new customer segments but also new markets, including the USA and Canada. Depending on the configuration, range will be more than twice that of the current eSprinter. Preparations are currently underway for the phased production of the next generation of the eSprinter, that will commence in the second half of next year at the plants in Charleston, Düsseldorf and Ludwigsfelde.

With its new VAN.EA (Van Electric Architecture), Mercedes-Benz Vans is accelerating its transformation into a provider with an exclusively electric product line-up. VAN.EA provides the basis for all electric vans brought to market by Mercedes-Benz in the mid-size and large segments as of 2025.