While Mercedes-Benz has been testing several different hybrid configurations of the Sprinter Van in North America, including plug-ins and diesels, none have come to market yet. Mercedes is now taking the first step toward that by adding start-stop capability. Whenever the van is sitting still in neutral for more than a few seconds, the engine shuts off. They expect fuel consumption savings of five to eight percent in most cases. Because the steering and brake assist aren't yet electrified, any motion of the vehicle will cause the engine to start. The system will add €203 to the bottom line in Germany and it will be available everywhere.

[Source: Mercedes-Benz]
Mercedes-Benz Sprinter now available with ECO-Start
  • ECO-Start acts as engine start/stop system
  • ECO-Start saves fuel and reduces the burden on the environment
  • Electronics ensure safety, comfort and convenience
An engine that is not running does not need any fuel. This truism helps the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter to save fuel and thereby reduce its environmental impact. If the vehicle is stationary with the engine idling and the transmission in neutral for more than three seconds, the engine is automatically switched off. As soon as the driver depresses the clutch pedal again, the engine re-starts. The potential for saving fuel is considerable: in some cases, depending on application and traffic density, drivers managed to cut their fuel consumption by as much as 20%. On average, the amount saved will probably be somewhere between five and eight percent. The system performs to best advantage in urban use involving frequent stops in traffic queues or at traffic lights.

Safety is provided by sophisticated electronics. If the vehicle starts to move, the engine is started so as to ensure that servo assistance for the steering and brakes is maintained. In all other cases the engine does not re-start until the clutch pedal is fully depressed. If the battery voltage is low or if an attempt by the system to start the engine has failed, the ECO-Start function is deactivated. In addition, the system's safety logic checks whether the bonnet is closed to make sure that no one can be injured if the engine suddenly starts.

The driver can also deactivate the system by means of a button on the instrument panel.

To avoid cold starts on the one hand and overheating on the other, the system only operates at coolant temperatures of between 40°C and 100°C. The comfort of the occupants is also taken into account: when the outside temperature is below freezing point, the engine is not switched off.
ECO-Start is available worldwide, with immediate effect, for all Sprinters with diesel engines and manual transmissions. In Germany it adds just € 203 (excluding VAT) to the price of the van.

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