Mercedes-Benz Vans will invest $59 million to build its next generation eSprinter van in North Charleston, South Carolina.
Based on a new Electric Versatility Platform announced at the end of 2020, the next generation of the eSprinter targets new customer segments and markets, including the USA and Canada, company officials said. Production is expected to begin at the Palmetto Commerce Park plant by the second half of 2023.
The Mercedes-Benz plant in Ladson/North Charleston was founded 15 years ago as an assembly plant for Sprinter and Metris vans, and was expanded to part-by-part production for Sprinter vans in 2018. By the end of 2020, the location had about 1,600 employees.
“Our North Charleston plant will be the first to bring the next generation of the eSprinter to the United States," said Arnhelm Mittelbach, President & CEO of Mercedes-Benz Vans, LLC. “We are proud that we have earned the trust of the company to produce this vehicle as an important pillar of the Mercedes-Benz Vans production network. We are also grateful for the continued support from the state of South Carolina and Charleston County in the development of our facility and our team who have worked hard to reach this milestone in our growth. The next generation eSprinter will support a sustainable future for the company and the environment, and we look forward to this investment in our Charleston team and facility."
The current generation of the eSprinter is already being built in Düsseldorf together on one line with conventionally driven Sprinter models. The principle of manufacturing both drive train variants will also be implemented at the plants in Charleston and Ludwigsfelde.
"The future of mobility is electric in the transport sector, especially in the last mile delivery segment. Our share of battery-electric vehicles is constantly growing. We have consistently aligned our strategy accordingly, and underline with our strategic pillar 'Lead in Electric Drive' our leadership aim in electric mobility in the vans sector," says Marcus Breitschwerdt, Head of Mercedes-Benz Vans. "With our newly developed Electric Versatility Platform, we are significantly expanding our offering in the commercial series. With production of the next generation of the eSprinter in the USA and in Germany, we ensure market- oriented production. In total, we are investing around €350 million into the next generation of the eSprinter."
According to company officials in this way it will be possible to respond very precisely to the respective market needs in the future. In addition to the previously available variant as a panel van, the next generation of the eSprinter will also be produced as a chassis model and will thus serve as a basic vehicle for, among other things, ambulances, motorhomes or refrigerated transporters.
"We have decided to expand the next generation of the Mercedes-Benz eSprinter to a total of three locations in our strong global production network, thus creating optimal synergies. We will benefit from our experience which we have already built up very successfully in the production of electric and conventionally driven vans on a line at our plant in Düsseldorf. In the future, we will be able to quickly meet the ever-increasing demand for electrically driven vans and, thanks to our intelligent and flexible production, be able to respond very precisely to the requirements of the different markets and make optimum use of our capacities," says Dr. Ingo Ettischer, Head of Production at Mercedes-Benz Vans. "For the adjustment of production, we will invest around €50 million in each of the three plants. We will start production of the eSprinter successively from the second half of 2023."
Sustainable production is another important step on the road toward CO2 neutrality. As early as 2022, Mercedes-Benz' own passenger car and van plants will produce CO2-neutral worldwide in line with the targets of Ambition 2039, company officials said. Mercedes-Benz will seek to avoid or cut emissions generated from vehicle production or from the energy supply used by the plants.