The next-generation Mercedes-Benz Sprinter could be offered with the option of an electric drivetrain and self-driving equipment.
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Ulf Zillig, head of the next-generation Sprinter development team, has told The Detroit Bureau that new van is capable of housing an electric drivetrain, as well as all the gear required for a degree of autonomous driving.

He did caution that these features would only be made available if the company thought there was sufficient market demand for them.

Zillig also revealed that the new Sprinter will go on sale, at least in the US, in 2018. An early development mule of the next-generation van was spied testing in Europe early last month.

Mercedes Sprinter v Renault Master_26

Above: The current Mercedes-Benz Sprinter.

The dimensions of the next-generation van will be about the same today's model, with the engineering team focussing on making the new vehicle easier to drive.

The German car maker has recently unveiled a number of prototype and concept vehicles featuring electric drivetrains and the latest self-driving equipment.

Last week it revealed the Urban eTruck, a six-axle electric short haul delivery truck with a range of around 200km. That was preceded by the Future Bus proof-of-oconcept, which was able to autonomously drive along a partially segregated bus rapid transit route, stopping on the way to pick and drop off passengers.