Funeral service operator becomes first UK customer for Mercedes-Benz Vito E-Cell van

Midcounties Co-operative funeral service has become the first UK customer to order the all-electric Mercedes-Benz Vito E-Cell, a van that produces zero pollutant emissions, as well as eight eco-friendly Vito 113 CDI Blue Efficiency models.

The Warwick-based undertaker will use the new E-Cell, which has been converted into a private ambulance by Bucks-based Wilcox Limousines, to transport bodies from the place of death to the funeral home.

Unveiled at the 2011 CV Show, the Vito E-Cell is the world’s first battery-powered van to be built on line at a mainstream production facility. An 82hp (60kW) electric motor drives the front wheels, leaving the space beneath the load floor free to store lithium-ion batteries, therefore not impinging on the load area. Its average range between recharge is 80 miles.

The vehicle also converts the energy used in braking to power its heating and ventilation system, including heated seats, enabling drivers to use it during very cold weather.

Simon Fisher, funeral group general manager for Midcounties Co-operative, says the business was aware of its environmental responsibilities and wanted a vehicle to help reduce its CO² emissions.

“I’ve been searching for a suitable vehicle for a number of years and am delighted to have found the E-Cell. Investing in a low-carbon vehicle programme enables us to develop our environmental practices even further and helps us minimise the carbon footprint of our business activities.”