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Van man turns eco warrior with launch of Vito E-CELL.

VAN man is about to become an eco warrior with the launch of the world's first factory-built, battery-powered light commercial.

The Mercedes Vito electric van is now on trial in Germany with production being ramped up for general use across Europe in the next few years.

With a range of around 80 miles the Vito E-CELL is not only emission-free its silent running means it can operate in environmentally-sensitive areas - particularly at night where noise restrictions apply.

The electric Vito has a maximum speed of 50mph and its lithium ion batteries take six hours to recharge fully, either from a specialist charging point or a mains supply.

Based on the current long-wheel-base Vito, the E-CELL has a gross vehicle weight of 3,050 kilos and a maximum payload of 900 kilos.

It is built in Vitoria, Spain, alongside the conventional van but is front-wheel drive.

Mercedes claims the E-CELL is up to seven times cheaper to run than a normal Vito.

Further savings can be obtained by using low-cost, off-peak electricity to recharge the batteries.

The van is fitted with parking cameras to help drivers reversing, especially in areas where pedestrians may not have heard the van approaching.

Electronic stability controls are fitted as standard and the van comes with sliding side doors in addition to a tailgate.

Mercedes intends to have 100 leased Vito E-CELL vehicles involved in trials in Stuttgart and Berlin where they are expected to clock up 50,000 miles each over the next four years.
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales)
Geographic Code:4EUGE
Date:Jul 30, 2010
Words:250
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