Mercedes-Benz will make its next-gen commercial vehicles electric powertrain-compatible

The next-generation Mercedes Sprinter van will be made available in all-electric guise, making it a direct rival to Tesla’s recently confirmed electric cargo van.

The Mercedes van is due to be launched in more conventional combustion-engined form in 2018, but the model’s project boss Ulf Zillig told The Detroit Bureau that a zero-emission version would be offered should customers demand it.

However, Autocar’s sources have taken things a step further and said the electric model will definitely be built. They say that all of Mercedes’s other next-generation commercial vehicle models will be offered in electric and combustion-engined forms thanks to adaptable underpinnings.

No date has been assigned to the arrival of Tesla’s proposed cargo van rival, but the American brand’s CEO, Elon Musk, confirmed that it would be based on the underpinnings of the Model X.

Autocar’s sources believe Mercedes’s decision to create electric versions of all of its commercial vehicles will soon be mirrored in its car division. The car maker looks set to reveal its first purpose-built electric model in Paris this autumn. The SUV concept will spawn a production version some time in 2019.

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Three other all-electric Mercedes models will be launched before the close of the decade, making the brand a more comprehensive rival to Tesla and its growing all-electric range.

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