Mercedes-Benz will lease its new electric van because it says it does not want customers to take any risk on residual values.
Electric vans are not eligible for the Government subsidy.
The Vito E-Cell is a fully electric version of the medium-sized panel van and starts production this month.
Mercedes-Benz is planning to lease the vehicles complete with battery as an entire unit, and expects the cost to be in the region of one-and-a-half to twice as much as a monthly lease on an equivalent diesel Vito, which Mercedes says is about £700-£1,000.
It means customers can expect to lease the Vito E-Cell from about £1,000 a month, but could take advantage of incentives such as discounts on the London congestion charge for electric vehicles.
Andreas Pohl, project leader for Vito E-Cell, said: “We don’t have a used vehicle market for electric vehicles, although it probably will exist in the future.
“We will supply these vehicles to users on a four-year lease.
“There will probably be a purchase option later on in the process, but we don’t want any additional risk for customers.”
CAP has said it will not offer RV predictions for any electric vehicle that has a leased battery, while Glass’s has gone on the record as favouring a leased battery model to allay fears over battery life in used vehicles, leading to confusion over which funding model to choose.
Mercedes-Benz will produce 100 Vito E-Cell models this year to be placed with van operators in Berlin and Stuttgart, increasing to 2,000 in 2011 to be leased to customers in other markets.
Pohl said that the UK is an important market for the van and right-hand drive versions are planned from the start of production.
The Vito E-Cell will be built alongside other versions at the company’s Vitoria plant in Spain, but has been re-engineered to front-wheel drive for the electric version to accommodate the battery under the floor.
Mercedes-Benz has also worked with Bosch to revise the van’s electronic stability control system so it works effectively on the front-wheel drive E-Cell with different weight distribution.
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