I’ve been waiting for a green minivan for a long time, and here it is, even though the oddly named Concept V-ision e is currently only a dazzling eyeful at the Geneva Motor Show.

The V-ision is actually quite a fully realized concept, so it could well see production with some of the fancier aspects — such as the executive seats that turn themselves into beds (shades of business-class flights) — toned down or available only on very high-end versions. It’s actually kind of refreshing to think that minivans need executive seating, instead of Cheerio- and Diet Coke-stained crushed velour captain’s chairs.

Electric range for the V-ision is 31 miles.

Electric range for the V-ision is 31 miles. (Photo: Mercedes)

Under the hood of the V-ision is a drivetrain borrowed from the production Mercedes-Benz C350e plug-in hybrid (available in the fall). The shared powertrain would make the V-ision a relatively cheap addition to the production lineup. The four-cylinder gas engine produces 210 horsepower, and combines with a 90-kilowatt electric motor for a 333-horsepower system output. That’s a lot of power, in the same ballpark as the 400-horsepower 2016 Volvo XC90 PHEV, and it moves this family wagon to 62 mph in 6.1 seconds. The Volvo gets there in 5.9. Top speed is 128 mph.

For Europe, a big plus is the V-ision’s carbon dioxide emissions of only 71 grams per kilometer, among the cleanest cars on the road. It can travel 31 miles on battery power, with a top EV speed of 50. There’s a big 13.5 kilowatt-hour battery pack, which stores energy for E-Mode (the other choices are Hybrid, E-Save and Charge). With E-Save it conserves energy for zero-emission zones (again, a European priority).

Asked about the vision for the V-ision, Mercedes' Ingeborg Gartner tells me:

Typical V-Class customers include families and those with active and/or sporty pastimes, as well as commercial customers such as hotel shuttle operators. The Concept V-ision e shows the extensive development potential of the V-Class...With the executive seats and the very high-end interior design, it also appeals to new target groups with even more exclusive requirements.
She adds that "the concept vehicle won’t be implemented in its current form. We will first await customer feedback and then take a decision on any further steps." If the demand is there, in other words, Mercedes will produce a plug-in hybrid minivan.

The business class-type seats in the V-ision fully recline, or pull up to a leather-covered table for power meetings.

The business class-type seats in the V-ision fully recline, or pull up to a leather-covered table for power meetings. (Photo: Mercedes)

The V-ision, at least as presented in Geneva, is aimed more at power couples than suburban families. The interior “brings to mind the atmosphere of a modern loft,” Mercedes says. The whole roof is one big glass panel (opening with “Magic Sky Control”), and as I pointed out the “executive seats” (which are heated and ventilated) can be fully reclined. Somehow I don’t see those beds getting a workout to the gentle strains of the Grateful Dead.

The “luxury business sedan” concept, instead, is a working office, where you collapse chastely after a long session on the Johnson account at the leather-covered foldable tables (with convenient iPad holders). No reason to head into the skyscraper — on a center console there are even USB ports, an SD card reader and a big cooler.

Some hybrid parts of the Mercedes V-ision are shared with the C350 plug-in, coming this fall.

Some hybrid parts are shared with the C350 plug-in, coming this fall. (Photo: Mercedes)

There are already 18 versions of the V-Class vans. They’re not sold in the U.S., though a working version of the mid-sized van called the Metris will be here in October. A plug-in hybrid, for families or Silicon Valley, would be a worthy addition to take beyond the concept stage. There’s a precedent: Mercedes doesn’t sell the B-Class in the U.S. — but it makes an exception for the battery electric version. 

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Jim Motavalli ( @jmotavalli ) writes about cars, technology and the environmental world to anyone curious enough to ask.