- Mercedes' new scalable VAN.EA electric architecture will come online in 2026.
- American buyers can expect a fully electric camper van on sale around the same time.
- Early range projections suggest at least 310 miles of range for privately sold models.
#VanLife: Mercedes-Benz Will Bring Electric Vans to America
Mercedes will offer new electric camper brands to American consumers for the first time
In 2026, Mercedes-Benz will begin using a brand-new modular and scalable electric vehicle architecture called VAN.EA. As you may have inferred based on the name, this isn’t for cars but instead for the brand’s lesser-known-yet-sprawling lineup of vans. Mercedes says that “all future midsize and large vans” — both its commercial and private vans — will be built on the platform. More importantly for U.S. buyers, it also means that some parts of the new VAN.EA lineup will make their way to America.
U.S. consumers with an itch for overlanding will be pleased to know that VAN.EA offerings will include RV and luxury camper vans. To boot, Mercedes-Benz Vans announced plans to offer "a privately positioned midsize luxury van in the United States” for the first time. Even though Europe is still its strongest van market, here in America, Mercedes-Benz Vans aims for greater sales with the new platform, largely through the addition of VAN.EA commercial options. But vans for regular old van lovers have not been forgotten.
The new VAN.EA platform itself can be roughly divided into three “blocks,” to use Mercedes’ language. The front block holds the powertrain and front axles and is the same within all VAN.EA versions — again to streamline production and save production costs. Mercedes-Benz says the center block on VAN.EA models will decide the vehicle’s overall length and battery case placement. Within the rear block, two versions will be available. The first can house a rear motor for all-wheel-drive versions, and the second will come without, for front-wheel-drive-only applications. This layout loosely mirrors how Mercedes' EQ products are built, with motors at either the front and rear (or just the rear) and battery packs in the middle.
The goal, as with so many of these shared-platform efforts, is to reduce complexity and cost for the brand. Mercedes’ announcement to the media even uses the term “economies of scale” to describe its ambitions for the VAN.EA architecture. To achieve such economies, Mercedes plans to trim of its van lineup in half but says its products will cover "the same use cases" for its customers.
Some early specs have been given on these vans already. For the brand’s VAN.EA-P — that is to say, vans for the #vanlife crowd — range is “well over” 310 miles. The brand has also laid plans for Level 2 automated driving functions on launch, with Level 3 functionality planned for the end of the decade.
On the commercial side, vans will be offered in a huge swath of configurations thanks to the platform’s scalable architecture. Van solutions include uses for last-mile delivery services (like Amazon), grocery vans and even ambulances. Here, Mercedes will also start with SAE Level 2 autonomy and work all the way up to Level 4 systems by the end of the decade.
We’re particularly excited about two things here. First, Mercedes’ introduction of electric private camper vans is sure to be a hit with the outdoor crowd. As infrastructure continues to flesh out, it’ll be great to get off-grid without the emissions drawbacks of a traditional gas-engine camper. Second, the electrification of commercial fleets will ideally help to reduce emissions in a noticeable portion of the transport sector — if Rivian can do it with Amazon, Mercedes-Benz might have a good shot too.