It’s a highly unusual delivery van that’s been in the spotlight in recent weeks: the Vision Van by Mercedes has just arrived, and the least you can say is that it’s pretty surprising. Not only is it all electric, but it is driven using a joystick and it… launches drones! As for fuel, it’s electricity above all; something that you might have expected from the brand with the star. This manufacturer is a leader in the field, as it has demonstrated through its cars and even with its semi-autonomous bus, which is not yet electric but should be during the course of next year. The modular lithium battery gives the van a range of 80 to 270 kilometres; more than enough if you think that, according to Mercedes, a van travels an average 40 kilometres per day. The German brand has also chosen to limit the speed of the Vision Van to 80 km/h, even if it could, in theory, reach 120 km/h.
A joystick and drones
Another innovation that astonished the world of road transport during the presentation at the IAA: the steering wheel has disappeared, as have the pedals, all replaced by a simple joystick. A surprising choice that will beg quite a few questions when the vehicle goes on sale – at a date yet to be set – especially about the qualification required to drive it. But the truly spectacular innovation obviously concerns the drones: two models are placed on the roof of the vehicle and are capable, once the vehicle is stationary, of delivering a package instead of, or at the same time as, the driver. And that is why the Vision Van is both truly revolutionary and relevant. Not only for transport businesses, but for those involved in logistics and, of course, vendors and their customers. In a word, a wide spectrum of everyday activities will be revolutionised by this advance. A breakthrough that will soon be followed by another: this same van will probably, in the short term, become fully autonomous… Which will necessarily mean that industry professionals have to rethink their model.