At the Mobility and the Future Mobility Summit in early September 2022, Mercedes is showing four improvements for its technology demonstrator ‘Sustaineer’ based on the Mercedes e-Sprinter. Those make the van more energy-efficient and ecological but also consider the driver’s comfort.
The Sustaineer, which stands for Sustainable Pioneer, was first shown a year ago and set out Mercedes’ vision of emission-free last-mile vans. For example, the vehicle was equipped with solar panels on the roof to generate power independently to extend its driving range. In addition, extensive use was made of circular recycled materials.
Now an aspirator module is fitted underneath the vehicle to extract fine dust from brakes and tires to improve livability in the city center. This strategy is essential because Mercedes is expanding the range of electric vans today, but above all wants to evolve to a situation where only EV vans remain.
One of the problems of an electric vehicle is heating the cabin. Because the electric drive is very efficient, hardly any heat is lost here. Therefore, it is pretty energy-intensive to heat the car’s interior on cold days, which reduces the autonomy.
Innovative driver’s seat
Since the van’s large doors are frequently open, a lot of heat energy is lost. That is why Mercedes mounts different heating elements with silver-carbon coating on the textiles of the car. This uses very little energy and provides radiant heat close to the driver’s body. This is much more efficient than heating the entire cabin with a conventional ventilation system.
The Sustaineer is also entitled to an innovative driver’s seat with integrated air cushions that offer much more comfort to the driver, who usually spends many hours in the van. This ergonomic seating position was developed with the help of doctors, physiotherapists, and sports scientists.
App monitors driving style
There will also be an app that maps out the driver’s driving behavior and sees where there is potential for optimization. For example, it will monitor strong accelerations that increase fuel consumption.
The app also considers the route, weather conditions, and, of course, the load on the vehicle. In a sense, the coaching app is a digital co-pilot that, by giving advice, aims to optimize the driver’s behavior and habits.
Finally, there will also be active aerodynamics because the vehicle’s aerodynamics largely determine its consumption, even for a van. For example, the bottom of the car is almost completely closed to optimize the airflow. In addition, from a speed of 60 km/h, the active radiator grille will automatically close to reduce air resistance at higher speeds.