Since his appointment to the Board of Management two years ago, Ola Källenius has been focusing the Daimler Group more quickly on electromobility. Officially, he does not want to do without vehicles with conventional combustion engines for some time yet, but he is no longer planning any major investments in this area. Now rumors are gaining new momentum, according to which Daimler is preparing for an earlier end to gasoline and diesel engines – at least in Europe.
Källenius wants to further accelerate the electrification of the model range of the core Mercedes-Benz brand in particular, according to Manager Magazin in group circles. “Quite a few” electric cars of the next generation planned for 2024/2025 should come onto the market a year earlier than originally planned. More than half of the current models would get only e-drives in the new edition, the combustion engine variants with gasoline and diesel engines would thus be phased out quickly. There is even talk of the previously dismissed re-entry into battery cell production.
The Daimler boss intends to present the accelerated electric plan to the public before the summer break, if possible. He wants to prepare Mercedes-Benz passenger cars for an extreme scenario such as the end of combustion engines from 2030, as demanded by the Green Party. Annalena Baerbock, the candidate for chancellor of the environmental party, had presented her goals to the board of the industry association VDA at the end of May. When asked about a date for the end of internal combustion engines, she did not want to commit herself exactly, participants told Manager Magazin. However, she made it clear that there was no long-term future for the internal combustion engine with the Greens.
Daimler does not currently envisage a concrete timetable for phasing out internal combustion technology. Volvo, MINI and Ford, for example, recently announced plans to do so in Europe. Audi, too, is said to want to concretize its purely electric future. The Daimler CEO assumes that e-mobility will automatically take over the market later on through exponential growth. “When that point is reached, we will be ready, and we will not hesitate to switch 100 percent to the new technology for nostalgic reasons,” Källenius said at a recent conference.
Mercedes already has several all-electric vehicles in its lineup. In the summer, the new electric car flagship EQS will be launched in the S-Class segment. Several more all-electric models are planned. Smart, the small car subsidiary that has only offered battery-powered vehicles since last year, is to market modern electric cars from China worldwide from 2022 as part of a joint venture with a new focus.