In the "electric drive" category, the jury awarded top honours to the Mercedes-Benz Vito E CELL. With a payload of around 900 kg, this van is the first commercial vehicle in its class to roll off the assembly line with a purely electric drive (maximum output: 70 kW), powered by extremely powerful lithium-ion batteries capable of withstanding heavy loads. Some 100 units of the vehicle are being produced on the assembly lines of the Spanish factory in Vitoria up until December 2010, and 2000 units are planned to be produced from 2011. Thanks to its emission-free drive system, the Vito E-CELL is ideal for urban use and for particularly environmentally sensitive areas. The Vito E-CELL operates with no emissions and almost silently, and imposes no restrictions on the operator in terms of load capacity and payload.
With its operating range of around 130 km, the Vito E-CELL meets average customer requirements for a daily van mileage of approx. 50 - 80 km with a considerable safety margin. Thanks to a top speed of 80 km/h it is also suitable for the short inter-urban stretches that frequently occur in densely populated areas and suburbs. The batteries of the Vito E-CELL are charged via the 380/400 volt mains. The charging time depends on the charge status of the batteries, and takes a maximum of six hours if the batteries are fully discharged. Using an additional charging cable with a conventional domestic power plug, the Vito E-CELL can also be charged from the 230 volt mains if required.
Commenting at the award presentation ceremony, Volker Mornhinweg, Head of Mercedes-Benz Vans, said: "It is only by maintaining our unrivalled strength for innovation that we can continue to emerge as victors in the future. And this means focusing our development efforts squarely on our goal of sustainable mobility. Cars have to be environmentally compatible, efficient, emission-free and quiet – while at the same time also being safe, comfortable and quick."