Mercedes-Benz had said its all-electric Vito E-Cell cargo van had sufficient juice to keep the model as a viable transportation option, but the same apparently can't be said for Germans' appetite for the vehicle.

The Daimler division is putting future sales of the E-Cell on hold because of lack of demand, Car and Driver says, citing an interview with Mercedes-Benz van division chief Volker Mornhinweg. Just "a few hundred" E-Cell vehicles have been sold, causing the German automaker to put the model into "hibernation mode."

The Vito E-Cell has a single-charge range of about 81 miles and a top speed of 50 miles per hour as well as 80 horsepower out of its front-wheel drive set-up. In the spring of 2011, Mercedes-Benz and Paris-based rental company Europcar reached an agreement to have a few dozen E-Cells rented out on a trial basis in both Hamburg, Germany, and Paris, France.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 28 Comments
      Spec
      • 1 Year Ago
      I suspect they were trying to sell them for $55K or so, and like the $57,400 Ford Transit Connect electric, you just don't have many buyers at that price.
        Smoking_dude
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Spec
        Renault Kangoo Z.E. 84 mph. range ~110 miles. Price 25,000 Dollars + 94 Dollars Battery rent. That is a LIIIIITLE bit cheaper
        Spec
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Spec
        The price was even higher than I thought it would be!!! http://www.plugincars.com/test-driving-mercedes-vito-e-cell-electric-van-121931.html
        Jesse Gurr
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Spec
        At least the transit connect electric had a higher than a 50 MPH top speed. Maybe they should have had Tesla do the powertrain for this as well.
      dewd7
      • 1 Year Ago
      Whoever thought this would be viable for a business is incompetent. One of these, useful for about 2 hours, or three Ford Transits? Pathetic joke.
      Smoking_dude
      • 1 Year Ago
      Well Evs are having a very hard time in Germany. There will be ABSOLUTLEY no incentives. There was a EV-Meeting recently between industry and politicians. AND GUESS WHAT. They have loosened the CO2 levels because they can't make EVs and the Batteries are not ready... Beeing a Investor in Tesla does not mean that they use their tech in all applications. The Smart ED uses ONLY the Tesla battery but not the Motor. Telsa made a Smart with the roadster drive train, but that did not favour the Mercedes executives. Here it is Smart EV with Tesla drivetrain: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9mVrEdHWqXU Look it has the display of the roadster ;) and there is also a Model S prototype at the end. 0-60 in 4 seconds. But mercedes uses it's own electric motor, so it is not fast and won't beat a mercedes E63 AMG. Imagine their weakest an cheapest Smart outrunning one of their most expensive cars like the e63 amg. That would put their business model at risk. Even the Kangoo z.e is faster and is limited at 84 mph. (range ~110 miles). This **** because mercedes is a large employer here, and if they really wait for to long and go down the drain...
      Nick
      • 1 Year Ago
      You make good points. How much was this selling for, in comparison to the ICE versions? How did the operating costs compare? THAT'S what buyers look for.
      Joeviocoe
      • 1 Year Ago
      It is such BS when automakers quote, "Lack of Demand" as a reason to kill a vehicle. The demand is there, just not at the price you want to sell it for. And Economics 101 says that Demand is not actually defined in the way that most people intuit. Demand exists based on factors not related to the price. But that price is supposed to be based on Demand (and Supply). And what people confuse for Supply and Demand, are actually Availability and Quantity Sold. At their asking price, the Demand may be high, but quantity sold will still be small.
        Letstakeawalk
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Joeviocoe
        So, you are accusing MB of *intentionally* pricing the van too high? Care to show your evidence?
          Marco Polo
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Letstakeawalk
          @ Joeviocoe Joe, now you've got me baffled ! In one post you castigate Mercedes for not producing the vehicle either cheaper, or at a loss, to meet an unspecified 'demand', but on the other you accuse LTAK of inventing a conspiracy for asking you to prove that Mercedes is somehow deliberately not wanting to produce the vehicle. You can't have it both ways ! This is an area in which I have a little expertise. Although, the light commercial vehicle market would appear to be the ideal sector for EV 's, like other manufacturers, Mercedes has found it difficult to compete against the very low profit margins traditional for vehicles of this type. Selling light commercial vehicles, is very much the least glamorous, least emotional, and most cost conscious of new vehicle sales. With a top speed of 50 mph, and only 80 mile range (unladen) the vehicle was never going to be a commercial success. The smaller, and cheaper, Renault Kangoo-Maxi EV , although appealing to a different sector of the van market, is a far more viable vehicle. It's a very difficult market to conquer for EV's, despite the obvious advantages EV have as fleet delivery vehicles.
          Joeviocoe
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Letstakeawalk
          I swear LTAW, you are always trying to make conspiracies out of nothing, just so you can start demanding 'evidence'.
          Joeviocoe
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Letstakeawalk
          As Spec pointed out... $2000 per Month is ridiculous for this vehicle. Let's Take an example to its extreme. If I had the cure for cancer... but it costs $1 Trillion for each pill.... would you say there is no demand for the cure for cancer??
          Letstakeawalk
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Letstakeawalk
          I'm not suggesting that it's not expensive. I'm just asking for evidence that it's unjustifiably expensive, as a result of MB intentionally inflating the price above actual production costs.
          Joeviocoe
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Letstakeawalk
          Marco, Re-read my first post. I did not "castigate Mercedes for not producing the vehicle either cheaper, or at a loss, to meet an unspecified 'demand'" as LTAW accused me of doing. I castigated MB for blaming consumer's demand, which is a cop out for not properly estimating the cost of production. I don't expect any automaker to produce a vehicle at a loss (unless only in the very short term). There is a reason the world will not see an EV utility truck/van for a while. There is no room for any premium based on styling or luxury.... so an EV maker must have the economics of scale right away. MB doesn't have ANY EV production capability right now. They were hopeless to even try to create this class of EV. So they failed, but they want to blame the consumer for not wanting an overpriced vehicle? There is a reason why only certain business models were able to succeed in the new EV market. Tesla can command a huge premium based on its luxury and performance specs. An economy car or utility truck/van... does not have that luxury(pun) to command any premium..... and thus must make up for it with huge volumes and a very efficient production method and supply chain. There is a reason why no automaker has succeeded with a low price, high volume EV right from the start. Nissan had to invest in quite a bit just to get the Leaf rolling. MB had no such investment. ---------------- Bottom line. I did NOT make the accusations that LTAW accused me of making (inflating the price to squash sales) I never even implied that. I made different accusations (regarding blaming the consumer demand). The quickness in which LTAW completely misconstrued what I wrote, makes me think he relishes in demanding evidence for conspiracy theories. But too bad LTAW, I did NOT accuse anyone here of a conspiracy, just economic incompetence (Hanlon's Razor) which is more than abundant these days.
          Letstakeawalk
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Letstakeawalk
          " They've never should have tried if they could not make an EV van at the right cost." Wow. What cost would you deem right? You're saying MB shouldn't even *try* to develop an EV van - because you think it's too expensive at the moment? How exactly do you expect them to bring down costs on future EVs if they never try building the first ones?
          Spec
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Letstakeawalk
          " It's only available as a lease, and it's not cheap: €1,690 per month for a 4-year contract." http://www.plugincars.com/test-driving-mercedes-vito-e-cell-electric-van-121931.html It would be cheaper to buy a Model S!
          Joeviocoe
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Letstakeawalk
          However, I should probably not even accuse MB for blaming consumer's "Lack of Demand" unless they said that directly in a Press Release. So far, I only have our own Danny King regurgitating Car and Driver magazine's article which uses the term "Demand" incorrectly. But I guess if "Journalists" use a word incorrectly... then it is excusable? Either way. It is wrong to perpetuate the myth that people do not demand EVs. They need to be more honest about their own failings to plan ahead with production costs.
          Joeviocoe
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Letstakeawalk
          "How exactly do you expect them to bring down costs on future EVs if they never try building the first ones?" -LTAW Don't start off with a Van! It is economic folly. There is no way to justify the premium in build cost to a consumer that cares about utility at the lowest cost. Tesla had it right, starting with a $100k roadster "Toy" to allow a price premium absorbtion. It is not that difficult to understand.
          Joeviocoe
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Letstakeawalk
          Geez LTAW... no. Once again, you took my comments to extremes never imagined. Just that they failed to be economically efficient enough to produce an EV work van at a competitive price. They should have been honest about the fact that, They've never should have tried if they could not make an EV van at the right cost. They did NOT inflate the costs on purpose, they just overestimated themselves. But they want to blame consumer's "lack of interest". BS! They would have sold plenty if they could get their own costs down. Don't blame consumers for a lack of economic foresight on your own production.
        Marco Polo
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Joeviocoe
        @ Joeviocoe "Demand exists based on factors not related to the price" Joe, I hope you never actually run a business, or you would learn differently, very quickly !
          Joeviocoe
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Marco Polo
          That is simple Marketing terminology. I still think of the demand you are thinking of, but I call it what economists call it. There are many things that effect true Demand (including the prices of competing products/services)... but no, The Demand is not a point, it is a curved line which has many possible values. And the Quantity sold is a point on the Demand line that intersects the Supply Curve.
          Joeviocoe
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Marco Polo
          Remember how so many people scoffed at my attempts to use PROPER economic terminology when trying to describe what "Supply Constrained" means in regards to the Nissan Leaf? And so many people here were saying how the Leaf was not supply constrained because they have them "available" at so many dealerships? Then, low and behold, when Smyrna finally ramped up production... suddenly the price dropped. It was obvious to anybody who has taken economics 101 that "Availability" does NOT equal "Supply". Now those people who constantly argued with me then... suddenly changed their tune too. They did not know what "Supply" was, just as you don't know what "Demand" is now. I am not going to excuse you, or anybody else's Economic Ignorance.
        Joeviocoe
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Joeviocoe
        They should just admit that it wasn't "Lack of Demand" but "Lack of Economics". It reeks less of shifting the blame. But it becomes obvious that their own inefficiencies cause the vehicle to be more costly than it should.
          Letstakeawalk
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Joeviocoe
          http://www.teslamotors.com/about/press/releases/tesla-model-s-sales-exceed-target
          Letstakeawalk
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Joeviocoe
          Let's try this with another company's similar statement: "Also being announced today is that the small battery option for the Model S will not enter production, due to lack of demand." Cue Joevioce: "The demand is there, just not at the price you want to sell it for." "Just that they failed to be economically efficient enough to produce an EV ... at a competitive price. They should have been honest about the fact that, They've never should have tried if they could not make an EV ... at the right cost." "It reeks less of shifting the blame. But it becomes obvious that their own inefficiencies cause the vehicle to be more costly than it should." BTW, I never claimed a conspiracy. That would require that a group of people colluded to some end. I simply asked for the evidence that you used to draw your conclusions. "... it becomes obvious that their own inefficiencies cause the vehicle to be more costly than it should." Please share these "obvious inefficiencies" that you claim exist. My opinion is that MB probably did the best they could to bring the EV van into a specific price range, based on their own demographic research. Then, they did manage to peddle a few, but there just wasn't enough demand to justify continuing the production - just like Tesla had to admit there wasn't enough demand for a $50,000 Model S to make it worth building.
      Letstakeawalk
      • 1 Year Ago
      I'd love one of these to convert to limousine duty.
      otiswild
      • 1 Year Ago
      That thing is really an embarrassment to be honest, 50mph top speed?! DB should just outsource their electric powertrain engineering to Tesla...
        Marco Polo
        • 1 Year Ago
        @otiswild
        otiswild Daimler is one of Tesla's earliest customers, and a crucial investor. Designing an EV van is not easy. By necessity any design must be a basic box, with widely variable payloads. The vehicle must be cheap to operate, and idiot-proof. But most importantly, the vehicle must be cheap to purchase. Few companies want more than the very minimum of capital (or payments) tied up in delivery vehicles, which are viewed as unprofitable overhead.
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