8 October 2020

Mercedes-Benz Sprinter celebrates 25 years

Mercedes-Benz is celebrating 25 years of its Sprinter van known for its flexibility, robustness and economy, writes Trish Whelan. It competes in the large 3.0 - 5.5 tonne van segment and is the carrier of choice amongst leading fleet operators here and in more than 130 countries worldwide.

Some four million units have been sold worldwide.

Sprinter continues to be regarded as the workhorse of the Mercedes-Benz commercial vehicles fleet, an all-rounder for the business sector with its new levels of intelligent connectivity, superior comfort and, for the first time, front wheel drive to the market.

Features include a new networked, online connectivity system that gives operators comprehensive fleet control - Mercedes PRO Connect and new MBUX multimedia system improve the process of fleet management in multi vehicle, or small company fleets, monitoring functions that include vehicle operation and supervision fleet communication, maintenance management and a digital driver’s logbook.

Mercedes PRO Connect provides eight connectivity packages that make for greater efficiency, lower operating costs, improved vehicle availability and optimised fleet communication.

Sprinter is a big brand carrier, prominent amongst high-profile names in food drinks, courier, parcels, and in engineering, manufacturing and servicing sectors. Its impressive ’who’s who’ list of customers include Coca-Cola, Tesco, Dunnes Stores, Supervalu, An Post, DHL, UPS, FedEx and more. It is also used in the health arena to transport sick and injured, used by the HSE National Ambulance Service and BUMBLEance, the world’s first interactive children’s ambulance service.

Fergus Conheady, who heads the Mercedes-Benz commercial vehicles sales division, says ’Sprinter representatives and users can look forward together with confidence to another 25 years of successful operation’. He has expressed gratitude to their many customers whose support and loyalty has helped Sprinter reach what he said is ‘this very significant milestone in its history’.

A major new development has been the recent arrival of the new, more spacious all-electric eSprinter van. Its electric power unit has peak output of 85 kW and up to 300 Nm torque. Battery capacity of 35 kWh delivers factory-quoted figures of 120kms. It can be charged from 10pc - 80pc in just 70 minutes or over a more extended six hours using a standard 7.4 kW street/fuel station charge point. Maximum speed can be set to suit the task in hand with top speed set at either 80km/h, 100 km/h or 120 km/h.

The eSprinter, with its smaller eVito mid-size stablemate, is the product of a €500m investment by Mercedes-Benz to create more eco-friendly vehicles.

Sprinter’s foundations were laid some 40 years prior to its introduction, beginning in 1955 with the Mercedes-Benz model L319 powered by a 43hp diesel engine and with a gross vehicle weight of 3.6 tonnes. The T2 ‘Dusseldorf Transporter in 1967 followed with an array of features like improved soundproofing, power steering, automatic transmission and diesel engines up to 130hp.

In 1977, the ‘Bremen Transporter’ model T1 arrived, with front disc brakes for the first time followed later by ABS and air conditioning. Then, in 1995, the brand became the first van maker to introduce anti-lock braking and ABS as standard. In 2002, ESP Electronic Stability arrived and, a year later, Crosswind Assist.

Sprinter has won successive Irish Van of the Year awards on each occasion that a new model was launched on the market here.