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. (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.
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.
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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