The 2020 Mercedes-Benz Vito will get several updates, including an all-electric eVito Tourer passenger van version built using lessons from Mercedes’ eSprinter and eVito cargo haulers, as well as the recently revealed EQV luxury van. Whether these updates will apply to the related U.S.-market Mercedes-Benz Metris remains to be seen.
Powering the Mercedes eVito will be the company’s eATS electric drivetrain, featuring a front-mounted electric motor with a peak output of 204 hp (150 kW if you dislike equine measurements) and 267 lb-ft (362 Nm). The drivetrain integrates motor, transmission, and powertrain controls into one compact unit that resides under the hood, drawing power from a 90-kWh battery that Mercedes says can be 80-percent recharged in less than 45 minutes.
The company claims an electric range of just over 260 miles, and the standard eVito can travel at speeds up to 87 mph – optional equipment raises this speed to 99 mph. What’s more, driver-selectable regenerative braking, actuated by paddles behind the steering wheel, allow for both easier coasting and more effective energy recuperation. An automatic brake-regen setting uses traffic sign recognition and the surrounding conditions to estimate how much regen is appropriate for the situation.
Mercedes PRO, the company’s fleet management tool, will offer EV-specific functions to help new eVito owners acclimate to their new, zero-tailpipe-emissions machines. Among these features are interior climate preconditioning and smart charging that avoids drawing electricity during expensive peak hours. Benz will also offer a charging station that can be installed at a home or place of business, and fleet customers who need more than one charging station can access the company’s network of partners that can help provide a solution for wider-scale recharging.
The eVito features many of the same updates as the rest of the 2020 Vito line. A subtly restyled front grille and Mercedes star emblem headline the exterior changes, while “turbine-style” circular air vents ever-so-slightly update the interior. New “Caluma” textile upholstery replaces the current model’s “Tunja” fabric, and updates to the infotainment system help modernize the driver interface.
More significant are the added safety features now available for the Vito. Automated emergency braking, Distronic adaptive cruise control, and a new rearview camera mirror are optional. Mercedes-Benz will also fit most of its European-market Vito vans with a new nine-speed automatic transmission (some models will retain the standard six-speed manual).
Whether those changes will translate from the global-market Vito to the very similar North American Metris remains to be seen. The U.S-market van uses a different powertrain (a gas-powered 2.0L turbocharged I-4 instead of a lineup of diesel engines), and the Metris is rear-drive only, while global markets get front-wheel, rear-wheel, or all-wheel drive. Were we to get an “eMetris” model, we’d assume it would be front-wheel-drive for packaging efficiency. And with Ford offering an all-electric Transit van in a year or so, we think Mercedes is likely to follow suit. If that’s the case, expect an updated Metris here by the 2022 model year.