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Mercedes Benz to Ditch Electric/Fuel Cell Vito, Van Chief Says

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vito-e-cellMercedes Benz seems to want to shelve electric vans, be them battery or fuel cell powered. The E-Cell version of their successful Vito van hasn’t had too much success.

Volker Mornhinweg, the van division boss told Car and Driver that demand is “virtually nonexistent” and that the company is putting the model into “hibernation mode.”

As far as I know, the Mercedes Benz electric motors have been acquired from Tesla, as part of the transaction that actually saved them from bankruptcy a few years ago. Ditching the plan altogether seems improbable, while on the other side of the world Tesla is enjoying increased acclamation from premium-sedan buying public.

Maybe the E-Cells aren’t using Tesla’s motor, anyway. This source says they only have 80 horsepower and a maximum speed of 50 mph, which doesn’t sound like Tesla technology.

The van’s limited success so far has been due to a French rental company who rented a few dozen for trial purposes throughout Germany and France.

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