Mercedes LE 306 – The first ever fully electric Van in the world

The first Fully Electric Van made by Mercedes – Model named Mercedes LE 306

Mercedes LE 306

The electric-powered van is not something new in this modern world that we live in but, Mercedes has been working on this project for a long time and we are presenting you the Mercedes LE 306 model from 1972, designed for the Munich Olympics.

Development of the Mercedes LE 306

The Mercedes LE 306 is the first project and although the first step for Mercedes towards the modern and future production from using the power of electricity and technology to build electric vans, they started this project 45 years ago.

The electric-drive was already a reality back in the seventies, a team of engineers from Mercedes tried to build an electric van for the Olympics in Munich, Germany, which was held in 1972.

Although it was a van based on Mercedes’s “LE 306” model, and at first glance, the prototype was very different from the standard model. It was developed in cooperation with Kiepe and the manufacturer of all kind of batteries models Varta.

Mercedes LE 306

The Mercedes LE 306 had built-in electric motors with a total power of 35 to 56 kilowatts, or from 47 to 75 “horse powers”. The batteries were connected one by one or side by side so that the gain a total voltage of 144 volts. The total weight of the batteries where 860 kilograms and a total capacity of 22 kilowatt-hours.

They loaded the van to carry one ton of weight from one spot to another or basically it can achieve from 50 to 100 km of driving range and a top speed of 80 km/h.

Just like the most modern electric vehicles, the “Mercedes LE 306” transformed kinetic energy into braking and slowing down to power and regain it to batteries, like the technology that is used in the modern electric vehicles produced by numerous car manufacturers.

Unfortunately, the batteries of the Mercedes LE 306 were also the main issue or limitation in the further development of this type of vehicles. In their design and technology they didn’t achieve much in the battery issue used in electric vehicles since the beginning of the 20th century.

Nevertheless during the 1990s, Mercedes continued to designed two more electric versions of  “sprinter” and “Vito”  with a driving range of 150 kilometers. 

Mercedes LE 306