An all-electric version is in the works.
Moving away from its tie-up with the Volkswagen Group and its Crafter, the next-generation Sprinter will live up to the overused “all-new” term by becoming a workhorse developed entirely by Mercedes. Multiple prototypes have been spotted this week at one of the company’s facilities in Germany where the light commercial vehicle will come to life at the Ludwigsfelde and Düsseldorf factories.
In addition, it’s a known fact the new Sprinter will also be fully built at a new assembly plant in North Charleston, South Carolina in the United States as opposed to the current model made in Germany before being partially dismantled and then reassembled to avoid a 25-percent import tariff a.k.a. chicken tax.
Mercedes has big plans for the next generation taking into account an electric version is in the pipeline and will be built at the Düsseldorf plant where the Sprinter originally rolled off the assembly line back in 1995. To electrify the Sprinter as well as the Vito / Metris, Mercedes is investing approximately €150 million ($176.8M) and an additional €300M ($354M) to get the Düsseldorf plant ready for the next-generation Sprinter, which is being built at a total of six factories all over the world.
The overhauled Sprinter has already been teased through an official render released a couple of months ago revealing a more chiseled front fascia lending the utilitarian vehicle a more modern appearance. We won’t have to wait much longer to see the real thing as Mercedes will have the 2018 Sprinter on sale in the first half of next year in Europe, with other markets to follow shortly. When it will arrive, expect some of the design cues to come from the X-Class pickup truck combined with a few of the styling traits seen in the Vision Van concept shown a little over a year ago.
Much like the Sprinter will lose the combustion engine to go pure electric, the Poland-built new VW Crafter will also spawn an EV version in the foreseeable future.
Note: Photos below are showing a different prototype spied this past summer.