The plant in Ludwigsfelde, the second of two plants in Germany, will continue to produce Mercedes-Benz Sprinter and Mercedes-Benz eSprinter (pictured) and will shift to become a competence center for eVan customization.  -  Photo: Merceres-Benz Vans

The plant in Ludwigsfelde, the second of two plants in Germany, will continue to produce Mercedes-Benz Sprinter and Mercedes-Benz eSprinter (pictured) and will shift to become a competence center for eVan customization.

Photo: Merceres-Benz Vans

Mercedes-Benz has announced that, starting in 2026, all newly developed vans will be based on a modular and scalable architecture called VAN.EA, which stands for Van Electric Architecture. 

The purpose-built platform is designed for battery-electric vehicles and is part of the company’s commitment to an “electric-only” strategy. All future midsize and large vans, whether used for commercial or private purposes, will be built on this platform.

Mercedes-Benz Vans has stated that VAN.EA-based vehicles will focus on providing added value to customers, whether as a versatile premium all-rounder for commercial use or a luxury van for private use. By adopting a “one architecture” strategy, Mercedes-Benz Vans aims to reduce the complexity of its purpose-built EV product portfolio and achieve significant economies of scale. 

The strategy also involves reducing the number of portfolio variants by over 50% compared to current vans with an internal combustion engine (ICE) while offering customers the same use cases.

“Starting in 2026, we will introduce our purpose-built EV architecture VAN.EA. This enables us to consolidate our midsize and large vans to only one architecture and significantly reduce the complexity of our product portfolio,” said Mathias Geisen, head of Mercedes-Benz Vans.

Detailing the New Van Architecture (VAN.EA) 

With VAN.EA, Mercedes-Benz Vans focuses on vehicle efficiency and performance, including: 

  • Aerodynamics.
  • Drivetrain.
  • Tires.
  • Chassis. 

According to the van manufacturer, the goal is to achieve a high range with an optimal battery capacity directly related to vehicle weight and costs. 

The three blocks of VAN.EA helps to achieve these targets: 

  • The front block consists of the electric powertrain and the front axle. The block is the same in all VAN.EA variants and resembles an optimized common parts strategy. The differentiation relevant to the customer takes place in the two other areas. 
  • The center block scales the vehicle length. This is also the placement of the standardized battery case, in which different capacities of high-voltage batteries are installed. 
  • The rear module will be available in two versions: With an electric motor (along with one in the front) for the all-wheel-drive variants of VAN.EA and without an electric motor for the front-wheel drive variants. 

Commercial vs. Private Luxury Van Model Options 

Based on these three blocks, VAN.EA will provide a clear differentiation between privately and commercially used vans:

  • VAN.EA-P to reference its privately positioned vans in the midsize segment. 
  • VAN.EA-C stands for premium commercial vans in the midsize and large segments. 

The VAN.EA-C is the ideal base for customers who value functionality, range, payload, and cargo space. With its modular and scalable design, the architecture is tailored for different configurations and upfitter solutions: From courier, express, and parcel delivery (last-mile delivery) vehicles to ambulances or grocery vans, from municipal vans or box upfits to lifting platforms or recreational vehicles (RV), the options are numerous. 

Digitizing Van Fleet Operations  

And with MB.OS, Mercedes-Benz Vans will offer more digital extras for commercial customers, including access to third-party apps. 

At market launch, SAE Level 2 automated driving will be available, and SAE Level 4 is planned to be realized by the end of the decade to address the business potential of driverless transportation. 

“According to the ‘electric-only’ strategy, VAN.EA is developed from scratch as a purpose-built electric vehicle, fully leveraging the advantages of the new technology. Our target of more than 50% BEV share by 2030 goes hand in hand with a significant reduction in CO2 emissions across the entire lifecycle of new vans,” said Andreas Zygan, head of Mercedes-Benz Vans Development.

Today, Europe is already the strongest market for Mercedes-Benz vans, with a 60% share of total sales worldwide, but Mercedes-Benz Vans still aims to strengthen its position here. 

In addition, growth potential is seen in the United States for premium commercial large vans. In the U.S., Mercedes-Benz Vans aims for more profitable and substantially increased sales by 2030 and a portfolio expansion by adding VAN.EA-based commercial vans to the lineup. Mercedes-Benz Vans also plans to offer VAN.EA-based private vans in a luxury positioning to cater to the expectations of its sophisticated customers more strongly. This will be the first time Mercedes-Benz Vans will offer a privately positioned midsize luxury van in the U.S. 

Mercedes-Benz Vans will also expand the RV vans "built from factory” portfolio with a new model line of fully electric midsize and large camper vans based on VAN.EA2.

The worldwide courier, express, and parcel services (last-mile delivery) market anticipates an annual growth of 6-8% per year and is a strong driver for fully electric intra- and inter-urban mobility. 

Mercedes-Benz Vans focuses on the upper price bands of the last-mile delivery industry, where it intends to offer a VAN.EA Last Mile Delivery-specific version "built from factory” for the first time.

Producing the New Era of Mercedes-Benz Vans

The production network Mercedes-Benz Vans is reorganizing the global production network with its first pure electric Light Commercial Vehicles (ACV) plant in Jawor, Poland. The production site for the VAN.EA-based large vans will be net carbon neutral - as all owned plants of Mercedes-Benz Vans. 

For the first time, Mercedes-Benz Vans plans to cover 100% of the plant’s energy needs through renewable energy and aims for a combination of different renewable energy sources to cover the electricity and heat requirements. 

These plants are expected to include electricity from maximized use of photovoltaics, wind power, and heat generation via air heat pumps, geothermal and solar thermal energy, and, if necessary, as a fallback in peak times, a small amount of biogas. 

VAN.EA will be built in Düsseldorf, Germany. The plant in Ludwigsfelde, the second of two plants in Germany, will continue to produce Mercedes-Benz Sprinter and Mercedes-Benz eSprinter and will shift to become a competence center for eVan customization, including Recreational Vehicles. In addition to the eSprinter and the Sprinter vans with ICE drivetrains, the large cab chassis is based on VAN.EA. 

Mercedes-Benz Vans will also build VAN.EA-based midsize vans in its plant in Vitoria, Spain. 

Originally posted on Work Truck Online

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Lauren Fletcher

Lauren Fletcher

Executive Editor - Fleet, Trucking & Transportation

Lauren Fletcher is Executive Editor for the Fleet, Trucking & Transportation Group. She has covered the truck fleet industry since 2006. Her bright personality helps lead the team's content strategy and focuses on growth, education, and motivation.

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