Since its introduction in 2006, the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter has become one of the best-selling vans in the world, familiar to RVers in the U.S. thanks to the popular Roadtrek campervan. According to Volker Mornhinweg, former head of Mercedes‑Benz Vans, the Sprinter is on the roads in more than 130 countries with some 4 million vans sold.
This story by Renee Wright originally appeared in Mobile RVing.
In February 2018, Mercedes-Benz introduced the third-generation Sprinter, featuring for the first-time innovations intended specifically for the campervan and motorhome market.
To give RV designers the widest selection of options, the third-generation Sprinter offers three different bodies, three wheelbases, three powertrains – front-wheel, rear-wheel and 4X4 – and a selection of diesel and gas engines that can be equipped with either automatic or manual transmissions.
All together Mercedes-Benz says there are some 1,700 variations of the new Sprinter available.
Third-generation Sprinter bodies include the familiar panel van, a single or dual cab van, and the new tractor head. In the tractor head, the powertrain, tank and all other major automotive components are located in the area of the front cab, providing expanded space for developers to design the living area. The frame and rear axle are connected to the tractor head individually giving designers options such as dual wheels in the rear, a cab-over design and numerous other modifications.
Among the features of the new Sprinter that were designed specifically for camper van manufacturers is a new front-wheel drive which allows vehicles to carry up to 110 pounds more and lowers the floor for easier access. Sprinter variants are also available with rear-wheel drive, a popular option for towing, or four-wheel drive for off-roading or challenging conditions such as driving on show or sand.
Now Mercedes-Benz Vans is hard at work on an all-electric “Vision Van” with a range of up to 168 miles, investing close to $555 million in its development. The first result of this initiative, the Mercedes-Benz eSprinter, intended for commercial fleets, is already in production.