These days a lot is mentioned about vehicles being fitted with ESC/ESP. But what exactly is it?
ESP stands for Electronic Stability Program. The Mercedes-Benz ADAPTIVE ESP® is designed to assist the driver in maintaining control of the vehicle and intervene automatically when the vehicle detects a potential issue.
Where cars usually carry similar loads, the load in a van is always altering. ADAPTIVE ESP® adapts to the load continually, moving with the centre of gravity as loads vary and adjusts to the specific load that is being carried.
This system automatically detects when the vehicle is understeering or oversteering and intervenes to assist the driver to maintain control.
A vehicle without ADAPTIVE ESP® or Electronic Stability Program of any kind, relies totally on driver input to maintain control in an unexpected situation. This can often result in a total loss of vehicle control. Integral to this system are ABS, ASR, BAS and EBD.
ADAPTIVE ESP® is the only load adaptive stability control available in the Australian van market.
The anti-lock braking system (ABS) prevents the wheels from locking during braking.
Speed sensors continuously monitor the speed of each wheel. Before a wheel reaches the point of locking up, the brake pressure at that wheel is immediately reduced. As soon as the danger of locking has been averted, the pressure is reapplied.
In this way ABS helps the driver to retain control of the steering even during emergency braking. When ABS is in operation, the driver feels a slight pulsing in the brake pedal.
Should you need to accelerate on a wet or loose surface, the vehicle's acceleration skid control (ASR) prevents lateral vehicle skidding and stops one or more wheels spinning. Brakes are automatically applied to individual wheels and the engine output is reduced - significantly improving both traction and stability.
Through testing, Mercedes-Benz has found that drivers often do not apply the brakes with enough force in emergency conditions. The BAS system is able to detect a situation when emergency braking is required, by measuring how fast the brake is applied, the timing in the movement of the drivers foot from the accelerator to the brake pedal and the pressure applied to the brake pedal. The increase in brake force in conjunction with ABS helps to assist in stopping the vehicle sooner and with more control.
Electronic Brake Force Distribution, or EBD, automatically detects how much brake force can be applied to the front or rear of the vehicle, depending on the weight of the load being carried. For example, more weight in the rear of the van means more braking can be applied to the rear wheels.
Our vans are equipped with disc brakes on all four wheels. Our engineers have also improved the tried and tested dual-circuit hydraulic brake system. There's also an electronic indicator on each of the four wheels for brake pad wear.
The airbag made its world debut in 1980, in a Mercedes-Benz passenger car. Since then our engineers have made continuous improvements to this efficient protection system.
Mercedes-Bens Vans come standard with full sized drivers and front passenger airbags. Window and thorax airbags are available to option into your vehicle.
Three-point seatbelts are standard for all occupants, with pre-tensioners for the driver and front passenger, that instantly tighten the belt against the body in the event of a collision. Adjustable head restraints are also standard on all seats.
"Real-world accident statistics show the risk of serious or fatal injury is halved in a 4 or 5 star vehicle...this means that one in every two fatalities in a poorly performing van could be prevented if the occupant had been in a 4 or 5 star vehicle."
In August 2009, ANCAP announced the Mercedes-Benz Vito (when fitted with optional window airbags) as the first 5-star safety rated van in Australia. A self-funded pole test saw the Vito pass all the rigorous testing protocols set down by ANCAP. This 5-star result shows that the Mercedes-Benz Vito is one of the safest vehicles on the road, and in some cases, safer than many passenger cars.
Mercedes-Benz Vans is currently the only manufacturer of a 5-star safety rated panel van in Australia.