The Citan, which will be launched in January 2013, will initially be offered with a choice of three diesel and one petrol engine.

However, the model is based on Renault’s Kangoo, which already appears in electric mode in the shape of the Kangoo ZE.

Currently Mercedes has one electric van in its portfolio, the Vito E-Cell, and it also produces both Vito and Sprinter hybrid vans powered by a combination of diesel and natural gas, technologies, which could filter down to the Citan.

Mercedes believes that, while diesel powertrains continue to dominate the commercial vehicle sector at present, by 2030 up to 70% of vans will incorporate some form of greener technology.

The brand also suggested an automatic transmission Citan could join the range later.

A Mercedes spokesman said that although automatic gearboxes are a rarity in small vans its partner Renault offers the Kangoo with automatic as well as manual transmission.