THE world’s oldest car maker is weaning itself off the liquid that has powered the car industry for more than 100 years.
German brand Mercedes-Benz has confirmed it will stop producing petrol and diesel cars by 2039 as part of an ambitious plan to significantly ramp up production of electric vehicles.
“Let’s be clear what this means for us: a fundamental transformation of our company within less than three product cycles,” says Ola Kallenius, who takes over as Daimler CEO on May 22.
He says Mercedes-Benz will use the Ambition 2039 strategy to get out of its comfort zone and move forward, trialling new technologies and embracing change.
“That’s not much time when you consider that fossil fuels have dominated our business since the invention of the car by Carl Benz and Gottlieb Daimler some 130 years ago. But as a company founded by engineers, we believe technology can also help to engineer a better future. Our way to sustainable mobility is innovation – in a holistic approach along the entire value chain.
Electric cars will play a major role in Mercedes-Benz’s future.
By 2025 every car sold by the luxury brand will have some form of electric assistance, even if just a 48V mild hybrid system. And by 2030 Mercedes is planning for half the cars it makes to be pure electric or plug-in hybrid vehicles.
As for what will dominate in 20 years, no one knows.
Kallenius encouraged policy makers to set strict targets but allow innovation to thrive in the race to meet those targets.
“We encourage policy makers to pave the way for tech neutrality: Let’s fix the target, but not the means to achieve it.”
The move by Daimler to put an end date on traditional internal combustion engines – and go further by committing to emissions-free plants and clean electricity for its cars – is one of the boldest of all brands.
While most are keen to talk about their ramp up of electric and partial electric propulsion, few have set an end date to fossil fuels.
Toyota is one exception, but has nominated 2050 as the year it will stop making cars powered by fossil fuels.
Published: 14th May 2019