Mercedes-Benz Plans Electric Strategy but Leaves ICE Door Open

Mercedes-Benz is the latest mainstream automaker to set out its electrification strategy promising to “go all electric” by the end of the decade.

There is, however, one caveat right at the beginning of the pledge “where market conditions allow”. This sends a clear message that it plans to continue supplying ICE powered vehicles dependent on market take-up which, even with pandemic affected car sales, remains stubbornly slow.

Nonetheless, it says that by 2022, Mercedes-Benz will have BEVs in all segments the company serves. From 2025 onwards, all newly launched vehicle architectures will be electric-only and customers will be able to choose an all-electric alternative for every model the company makes.

To this end, in 2025 it will launch three electric-only architectures:

  • EA will cover all medium to large size passenger cars, establishing a scalable modular system as the electric backbone for the future EV portfolio;
  • EA will be a dedicated performance electric vehicle platform addressing technology and performance-oriented Mercedes-AMG customers;
  • EA ushers in a new era for purpose made electric vans and Light Commercial Vehicles.

Mercedes-Benz says it will need a battery capacity of more than 200 Gigawatt hours and plans to set up eight Gigafactories for producing cells, together with its partners around the world. This is in addition to the already planned network of nine plants dedicated to building battery systems. Next generation batteries will be highly standardized and suitable for use in more than 90% of all Mercedes-Benz cars and vans while being flexible enough to offer individual solutions to all customers.

It intends to team up with European partners to develop and efficiently produce future cells and modules. By continuously integrating the most advanced battery cell technology in cars and vans, Mercedes-Benz aims to increase range during the production lifecycle of a model. With the next battery generation, Mercedes-Benz will work with partners like SilaNano to further increase energy density by using silicon-carbon composite in the anode. This will allow for unprecedented range and even shorter charging times. When it comes to solid-state technology, Mercedes-Benz is in talks with partners to develop batteries with even higher energy density and safety.

Spearheading this will be the Vision EQXX, an electric car the automaker claims will have a real-world range of more than 620 miles, targeting a single-digit figure of more than six miles per Kwh at normal highway driving speeds. A multi-disciplinary team including experts from Mercedes-Benz’s F1 High Performance Powertrain division is working on this ambitious goal and its world premiere is planned for 2022. Technological advances made with Vision EQXX will be adapted and applied for potential use in new electric architectures.

Ola Källenius, CEO of Daimler AG and Mercedes-Benz AG, said:  “The EV shift is picking up speed, especially in the luxury segment, where Mercedes-Benz belongs. 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.”

— Paul Myles is a seasoned automotive journalist based in Europe. Follow him on Twitter @Paulmyles_

One comment

  1. Avatar donald williams 27th July 2021 @ 6:01 am

    I will believe it when I see it. Since I have heard this for the last 13 years, there’s no reason to think it is coming in 2022, which is five months away, and the closest to 300 miles is a Chevy Bolt at 259, save Tesla. If only there was a way to have a vehicle with an onboard energy source that would power it for five to eight hours and only take 10 minutes to replenish. Oh wait, isn’t that the ICE?

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