The model is already available in Berlin and Barcelona and, according to Mercedes: “It will go into blue chip companies and fleets this year in small numbers.”

The Vito E-Cell is aimed at inner city operators and those wishing to reduce their carbon footprints.

Mercedes says that because new electric vehicle technology is moving so fast there is a risk of it becoming obsolete. Therefore the manufacturer is not selling the Vito E-Cell but supplying it on a three-year lease deal.

“The risk of value loss is taken by Mercedes,” a spokesman explains.

The electric Vito is built on the production line next to the regular derivatives at Mercedes’ plant in Vitoria, Spain and can be serviced at the manufacturer’s workshops by trained technicians. With no engine to carry, the Vito E-Cell retains a payload of one tonne.