Mercedes-Benz is getting ready to go “all electric” by the end of the decade, “where market conditions allow”.
By 2022, the German carmaker says it will have battery electric vehicles (EVs) in all segments of the market the company serves.
From 2025 onwards, customers will be able to choose an all-electric alternative for every model the company makes.
This announcement follows the European Union’s proposal earlier this year to ban the sale of new petrol- and diesel-powered cars by 2035, as part of a wide-ranging effort to reduce carbon emissions.
Mercedes-Benz says it intends to manage this “accelerated transformation” while sticking to its profitability targets.
“The EV shift is picking up speed, especially in the luxury segment, where Mercedes-Benz belongs,” says Daimler and Mercedes-Benz CEO Ola Källenius.
“The tipping point is getting closer and we will be ready as markets switch to electric-only by the end of this decade.
“This step marks a profound reallocation of capital. By managing this faster transformation while safeguarding our profitability targets, we will ensure the enduring success of Mercedes-Benz.”
To facilitate this shift, the premium car manufacturer has unveiled a plan which includes significantly accelerating research and development, with investments into battery EVs between 2022 and 2030 to exceed €40-billion.Meanwhile
, Mercedes-Benz’s investments into combustion engines and plug-in hybrid technologies will drop by 80% between 2019 and 2026.
Mercedes-Benz believes accelerating and advancing its EV portfolio plan will bring forward the tipping point for EV adoption.
“Our main duty in this transformation is to convince customers to make the switch with compelling products,” says Källenius.
1 000 km Range on the Horizon
In 2025, Mercedes-Benz will launch three electric-only architectures , namely MB.EA, AMG. EA and VAN.EA.
MB.EA will cover all medium- to large-size passenger cars, establishing a scalable modular system as the electric backbone for the future electric portfolio.
AMG.EA will be a dedicated performance EV platform addressing technology and performance-orientated Mercedes-AMG customers.
VAN.EA will be focused on purpose-made electric vans and light commercial vehicles.
Mercedes-Benz adds that it is currently developing the Vision EQXX, an electric car with a real-world range of more than 1 000 km, targeting a single-digit figure for kilowatt hours per 100 km at normal highway driving speeds.
Kilowatt hours per 100 km is basically a way of measuring average efficiency, as is the case with regular petrol and diesel cars. The lower the number, the more efficient the vehicle and driving.
The world premiere for the vehicle will be in 2022.
But What Will Happen in SA?
What does “where markets conditions allow” mean? Does it mean South African customers will still have access to petrol and diesel Mercedes-Benz vehicles by 2030?
Responding to this question from Engineering News & Mining Weekly, Mercedes-Benz South Africa (MBSA) reiterates what its German head office says: “Mercedes-Benz will be ready to go all electric at the end of the decade, where market conditions allow. This is true for the whole of the company. Anything more, we cannot comment further”.
With the start of new C-Class production in South Africa this year, and the vehicle being exported to numerous markets abroad, does it mean MBSA will produce an battery EV at its East London plant, especially given the fact that the model typically has a seven-year life cycle?
“Thanks to highly flexible structures, we are able to produce vehicles with different types of drive in our plants to respond flexibly and rapidly to changes in market demand,” says MBSA.
The local arm of the German carmaker adds that sales of the Mercedes-EQ range in South Africa will kick off next year.
The company says the local product introduction for the Mercedes-EQ range – the company’s electric vehicle range –will include the EQA, EQB, EQC, EQE and EQS models.