The electric Mercedes-Benz Vision Van was unveiled overnight, and features an EV drivetrain, highly automated cargo management system, and space for two delivery drones on the roof.
With the intent of, possibly, wooing the FedExes, DHLs and Amazons of this world, the Vision Van is designed to reduce the time and effort required to deliver parcels from a distribution centre to their intended recipients.
The Vision Van's cargo area accomodates two slide-in rectangular racks that run down the length of the vehicle. Each rack can hold up to 46 slide-in open top baskets,
Three basket size are available, ranging from 300mm by 305mm to 450mm by 645mm, and each one can hold a parcel weighing up to 31kg.
At the distribution centre, the optimised and filled-up racks are loaded into the Vision Van via an accompanying automatic lifting platform.
When the Vision Van is close to a recipient's address, the automated rack feeder removes the appropriate package or packages from the rack.
It then either makes the parcel available for the delivery person, or loads it onto an automated delivery drone located on the roof of the vehicle.
According to Thomas Moser, project director for the Vision Van: "We know from our customers that retrieving the packages at the stop may take several minutes today, because consignments have to be sought or resorted. The automated cargo space in the Vision Van solves this problem."
The Vision Van has an all-electric drivetrain that outputs a maximum of 75kW of power and 270Nm of torque during normal use, but can deliver up to 150kW for 60 seconds.
Top speed is said to be 120km/h, but under normal circumstances is electronically limited to 80km/h as that is "adequate for operation as a delivery vehicle in urban and suburban environments".
The drivetrain integrates with a modular battery system that can be configured for a range of between 80 and 270 kilometres.
The concept van will debut in the flesh at the 2016 Paris motor show.