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Van profile: A Spanish all-rounder – the MB 100.

A green MB 100 in the nature

Durable, reliable and a platform for numerous special bodies such as the first fuel cell vehicle: the MB 100 was ahead of its time in many respects.

Popular platform.

Daimler-Benz manufactured the MB 100 small van between 1988 and 1995. The predecessor of the Mercedes-Benz Vito was equipped with a front engine and front wheel drive. This made it ideal for a diverse range of bodies. It was available as a flatbed and panel van and also as a minibus. Its large chassis also made the model a popular choice among camper van manufacturers. The lower frame height and the broad sliding doors simplified entering and exiting the driver’s cabin. The MB 100 was also popular because of its spacious interior. Deciding to forgo a few comforts created enough space for up to nine people in the van. That was why the MB 100 actually had a larger cargo area and a higher payload than the next larger 207.

A yellow MB 100 on the road

Given its dimensions, the MB 100 was always a competitor for the Bulli from VW.

The Mercedes-Benz MB 100

The Mercedes-Benz MB 100.

A yellow MB 100 in front of an industrial building

After the production in Spain, the MB 100 was manufactured in Korea up until 2004.

Upgrade and facelift.

The van received an upgrade and a facelift in 1991: the headlights and the entire radiator section now featured an angled design. In addition, the engine was modified to match the emission regulations of the time. With front disc brakes and the automatic load breaking system, the MB 100 also featured two new and important safety systems.

The New Electric Car.

In 1994, Daimler-Benz presented the “NECAR 1” (New Electric Car). The van based on the MB 100 was also the world’s first fuel cell vehicle. The fuel cell integrated into the vehicle transforms hydrogen and oxygen into water, creating electricity in the process. As such, the MB 100 also served as the basis for the first electric vehicle in the world. However, the electric version only had room to the driver and front passenger in the otherwise spacious van. The 800 kg fuel cell filled the entire cargo area. However, the electric motor provided impressive performance: its 41 hp accelerated the vehicle to up to 90 km/h. One charge was enough for approximately 100 kilometers. Throughout its entire production life, this Mercedes-Benz van was regarded as especially tough and durable.

Profile Mercedes-Benz MB 100

Production period


Production location


Original model

MB N 1000

Successor model

MB W 638


Flatbed, panel van, minibus


Diesel engines: 2.0 – 2.4 liters

Power output

43-53 kW (58-72 hp)


4652 – 5066 mm


1845 mm


2050 – 2367 mm


1.0 – 1.8 t

Permitted total weight

2.65 – 3.50 t

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The white MB 100 seen from the front on a road

The large front provided the driver with a good view of the road.

The fuel cell of the “NECAR 1”

The 800 kg fuel cell installed in the MB 100.

The MB 100 on the edge of a forest

Its soft suspension and low-speed also earned the MB 100 its nickname the “Cutter”.

The white “NECAR 1” on a test track.

Up until today, numerous electric vehicle prototypes have followed the “NECAR 1”. Mercedes-Benz Concept Vehicles, NECAR 1: An MB 100 van served as basis.


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