Fleet managers operating commercial vehicle fleets will have further choice to electrify with the announcement that Mercedes-Benz Vans has entered into a joint venture with electric vehicle maker Rivian.
Subject to formal agreement, the joint venture will build two new large electric vans in a factory based in central or eastern Europe, with output expected within two years. One van will be based on the M-B Vans’ electric architecture known as VAN.EA, and the other based on the second generation Rivian Light Van (RLV) platform.
Mathias Geisen, head of Mercedes-Benz Vans, commented:
“As a pioneer in the field of locally emission-free transportation, Mercedes‑Benz Vans has gained broad experience in producing and launching eVans since 2010. Now we are accelerating the transformation to a fully electric product portfolio. From 2025 onwards, all vans based on our new architecture VAN.EA will be electric-only. I am delighted that as part of this transformation we are now joining forces with Rivian - a highly dynamic and inspiring partner with a strong technology position.”
Mercedes currently offers four battery-electric vans: the eVito Panel Van; eSprinter; eVito Tourer; and EQV. With the new eCitan due later this year along with the upcoming EQT (both JVs with Renault), Mercedes will have an electric offering across its range. The company says its next generation eSprinter will be launched in 2023.
Rivian launched its electric R1T pick up with great fanfare along with its R1S SUV but has struggled to ramp up production thanks to the pandemic and supply chain issues. Rivian has already established an agreement with Amazon, however, to supply electric vans, with 100,000 due to be rolled out by end 2030. Ford, which has just unveiled its E-Transit Custom mid-size electric van in Europe, is also an investor in the company.
RJ Scaringe, chief executive officer of Rivian, added:
“We’re delighted to be partnering with Mercedes‑Benz on this project. Mercedes‑Benz is one of the world’s best known and respected automotive companies, and we believe that together we will produce truly remarkable electric vans which will not only benefit our customers, but the planet.”