Mercedes-Benz says it will go all-electric in 2030, but with a major caveat


The Verge 22 July, 2021 - 09:47am 26 views

The company also teased its forthcoming concept car, the Vision EQXX

The company made the announcement during an EV strategy update Thursday morning, the latest in a series of automaker events to declare a major pivot to electric powertrains. But while other car companies have similarly promised to shift to all-EV production, Mercedes is notable by hedging its promise on external factors.

Other major automakers have included similar caveats. GM, for example, said it would be carbon neutral by 2040, but wouldn’t commit to ending the sale of gas-powered vehicles by that date. And GM’s top executives described the goal of eliminating tailpipe emissions from its new light-duty vehicles by 2035 as “an aspiration” rather than a certainty.

Still, Mercedes says it will commit €40 billion ($47 billion) to the electrification of its lineup by 2030. “We are convinced, we can do it with strong profitability, and we believe that focus on electrical is the right way to build a successful future and to enhance the value of Mercedes Benz,” said Ola Källenius, chairman of Daimler and head of Mercedes-Benz.

The company hinted at some of the new products that will be coming soon, including electric versions of Mercedes-Benz’s G-class wagons and AMG high-performance vehicles. Executives also teased the forthcoming long-range, high-powered Vision EQXX concept car, which it will reveal next year. With the EQXX, Mercedes is targeting 1,000 kilometers (621 miles) of range, and a consumption rating of more than six miles per kWh, which would make it one of the longest range EVs on the market if achieved.

With regard to its supply chain, the company will build eight gigafactory battery plants, including one in the US, with the aim of building out its battery cell capacity to 200GWh. And Mercedes announced the acquisition of Yasa, a UK-based EV motor manufacturer, to help speed up its production plans.

Mercedes isn’t alone in charting out its all-electric (or mostly all-electric) future. GM, Ford, Stellantis, Volvo, BMW, and Volkswagen have made similar promises about transitioning to mostly selling EVs. These announcements come as major governments push to put restrictions on the sale of internal combustion engine vehicles. The European Union, China, and California have all said they would ban the sale of internal combustion engine vehicles by 2035.

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Mercedes-Benz Going All Electric from 2030 “Where Market Conditions Allow”

autoevolution 22 July, 2021 - 11:01am

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Mercedes-Benz going all-electric by 2025

The Hill 22 July, 2021 - 10:16am

Mercedes said that by 2022, the company will have battery electric vehicles “in all segments the company serves,” adding that starting in 2025, customers “will be able to choose an all-electric alternative for every model the company makes.”

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

“The tipping point is getting closer and we will be ready as markets switch to electric-only by the end of this decade," he added. 

“By managing this faster transformation while safeguarding our profitability targets, we will ensure the enduring success of Mercedes-Benz,” he continued. “Thanks to our highly qualified and motivated workforce, I am convinced that we will be successful in this exciting new era."

Mercedes said Thursday that in order to facilitate the shift to electric vehicles, the company will be investing more than 40 billion euros, or roughly $47 billion, in research and development projects. 

General Motors, Stellantis and Renault have all made similar commitments to transition away from internal combustion engines and invest in battery electric vehicles amid mounting pressure to reduce carbon emissions and other vehicle-induced pollution. 

The Amsterdam-based manufacturer also said at the time that it aimed to have low-emission vehicles account for 70 percent of European sales and more than 40 percent of U.S. sales by 2030. 

Dingell is a sponsor of the Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing Future Act, which would expand the Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing Loan Program to help boost corporations' spending on electric vehicle development. 

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Mercedes plans to go all-electric by the end of the decade

CNBC 22 July, 2021 - 09:50am

Germany's Daimler said Thursday that its Mercedes-Benz brand would "be ready to go all electric at the end of the decade, where market conditions allow."

It's the latest sign of how major automotive firms are gearing up for a future based around electric vehicles.

According to Daimler, from 2025 all of Mercedes-Benz' "newly launched vehicle architectures will be electric-only."

Breaking things down, Daimler explained how it planned to launch three pure-electric architectures that year: MB.EA, which will relate to medium and large passenger cars; AMG.EA, which will focus on performance vehicles; and VAN.EA, for light commercial vehicles and vans. Models based on these platforms will be electric only.

From 2025 onward, consumers will also have the option of purchasing an "all-electric alternative for every model the company makes."

"The EV shift is picking up speed — especially in the luxury segment, where Mercedes-Benz belongs," Ola Källenius, who heads up both Daimler and Mercedes-Benz, said in a statement.

"The tipping point is getting closer and we will be ready as markets switch to electric-only by the end of this decade," he added. "This step marks a profound reallocation of capital." 

In light of its plans, Daimler stated that Mercedes-Benz would ramp-up its research and development. "In total, investments into battery electric vehicles between 2022 and 2030 will amount to over 40 billion euros."

Alongside global partners, Mercedes will also look to establish eight gigafactories to manufacture the cells it needs for its vehicles. This would supplement plans to develop nine plants focused on the development of battery systems.

Daimler added that Mercedes-Benz intended to, "team up with new European partners to develop and efficiently produce future cells and modules, a step which ensures that Europe remains at the heart of the auto industry even in an electric era."

Low and zero-emission transportation is seen as being a crucial tool for major economies attempting to reduce their environmental footprint and cut air pollution.

The U.K. government, for example, plans to stop the sale of new diesel and gasoline cars and vans by 2030 and require, from 2035, all new cars and vans to have zero tailpipe emissions.

Elsewhere, the European Commission, the EU's executive arm, is targeting a 100% reduction in CO2 emissions from cars and vans by 2035.

Against this backdrop, a host of companies involved in the auto industry have announced plans to expand their offering of low and zero-emission vehicles.

Earlier this month, for example, the Volkswagen Group said half of its sales were expected to be battery-electric vehicles by 2030. By 2040, the company said almost 100% of its new vehicles in major markets should be zero-emission.

Back in March, the Volkswagen Group's CEO dismissed the notion that his firm could join forces with Tesla, telling CNBC that the German automotive giant was looking to go its own way.

Speaking to "Squawk Box Europe," Herbert Diess was asked if he would rule out any future deal with Elon Musk's electric car maker, in which VW could manufacture its cars, or if the Tesla and VW brands would ever unite.

"No, we haven't considered [that], we are going our own way," he replied. "We want to get close and then overtake."

"We think that we can — we need our own software stack, our own technology," he added. "And also, I think Tesla, or Elon, is very much thinking ... [about] his way forward. So no, there are no talks between Elon Musk and myself regarding joining forces."

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Mercedes-Benz to go all-electric by 2030

NBC News 22 July, 2021 - 07:52am

Outlining its strategy for an electric future, the German luxury carmaker said on Thursday it would, with partners, build eight battery plants as it ramps up EV production, and that from 2025 all new vehicle platforms would only make electric cars.

"We really want to go for it ... and be dominantly, if not all electric, by the end of the decade," Chief Executive Ola Källenius told Reuters, adding that spending on traditional combustion-engine technology would be "close to zero" by 2025.

However, Daimler stopped short of giving a hard deadline for ending sales of fossil-fuel cars.

Some carmakers like Geely-owned Volvo Cars have committed to going all electric by 2030, while General Motors says it aspires to be fully electric by 2035.

"We need to move the debate away from when you build the last combustion engine because it's not relevant," Källenius said. "The question is how quickly can you scale up to being close to 100 percent electric and that's what we're focusing on."

Daimler's announcement comes just over a week after the European Union proposed an effective ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel cars from 2035, aiming to speed up the switch to zero-emission EVs as part of a broad package of measures to combat global warming.

Ahead of the EU's announcement, carmakers had announced a series of major investments in EVs. Earlier this month, Stellantis said it would invest more than 30 billion euros by 2025 on electrifying its line-up.

Daimler said that as of 2025, it expects electric and hybrid electric cars to make up 50 percent of sales, earlier than its previous forecast that this would happen by 2030.

The carmaker will unveil three electric platforms — one to cover its range of passenger cars and SUVs, one for vans and one for high-performance vehicles — that will be launched in 2025.

Four of its new battery plants will be in Europe and one in the United States. Daimler said it would announce new European partners for its battery production plans soon.

The EU has been pushing hard to build out battery capacity to counter China's dominance of battery production.

Rival Volkswagen plans to build half a dozen battery cell plants in Europe.

Mercedes: Electric-Only Platforms From 2025, Vision EQXX Teased

InsideEVs 22 July, 2021 - 07:31am

From 2025 onwards, all its newly launched architectures will be electric-only, the luxury car brand today revealed. Mercedes says it will launch three electric-only architectures in 2025 and will be ready to go all electric at the end of the decade, “where market conditions allow.”

Starting with the more immediate future, Mercedes-Benz will have battery electric vehicles in all the segments it serves by 2022. However, from 2025 onwards, customers will be able to choose an all-electric alternative for every model the company makes.

One way to accomplish that is by deepening the level of vertical integration in manufacturing and development, and insource electric drive technology. Mercedes says this step includes the acquisition of UK-based electric motor company YASA, in a deal that gives it access to unique axial flux motor technology and expertise to develop next generation ultra-high performance motors. For example, in-house electric motors, such as the eATS 2.0, are a key part of the strategy.

Batteries are obviously another key pillar of the company’s electrification strategy. Since Mercedes estimates it will need a battery capacity of more than 200 Gigawatt hours, it plans to set up eight Gigafactories for producing cells together with international partners, especially from Europe. Mind you, this is in addition to the already planned network of nine plants dedicated to building battery systems.

Mercedes says next-generation batteries will be highly standardized and compatible with more than 90% of all its cars and vans. By continuously using the most advanced battery cell technology in cars and vans, Mercedes-Benz targets to increase range during the production lifecycle of a model.

For the next battery generation, the automaker 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.” As for solid-state technology, Mercedes is in talks with partners to develop batteries with even higher energy density and safety.

The team developing it includes experts from Mercedes-Benz’s F1 High Performance Powertrain division (HPP). According to the carmaker, some of the technological advances made with Vision EQXX will find their way onto its new electric platforms.

For more on Mercedes' electrification strategy, watch the full video presentation posted below.

Mercedes-Benz will shift its focus to electric vehicles by 2025.

The New York Times 22 July, 2021 - 06:59am

As of

Data delayed at least 15 minutes

Mercedes thus joined a growing list of companies including General Motors, Stellantis and Renault that have declared their intention to hasten the demise of internal combustion engines in favor of battery powered vehicles with no tailpipe emissions.

Increasingly, they have little choice. The European Union will effectively ban new cars with internal combustion engines in 2035, while Britain, Norway and other countries have also set expiration dates for vehicles that run on fossil fuels.

Mercedes, the luxury carmaking division of Daimler, also faces pressure from Tesla, which has been stealing well-heeled buyers and is building a factory in Berlin.

Mercedes said it would invest 40 billion euros, or $47 billion, on electric cars, vans and light commercial vehicles by 2030. In 2025, the company will introduce three new electric vehicle platforms — collections of components and technology that can be shared among different models — and will no longer develop platforms for internal combustion engines.

The platform shift is significant because it allows Mercedes to exploit some of the design potential of battery powered vehicles, such as more interior space. Electric motors are smaller than internal combustion engines and do not require large transmissions.

Mercedes said that, working with partners, it would also establish a global network of plants to produce batteries and would produce its own electric motors.

“The EV shift is picking up speed — especially in the luxury segment, where Mercedes-Benz belongs,” Ola Källenius, the chief executive of Daimler, said in a statement. “The tipping point is getting closer and we will be ready as markets switch to electric-only by the end of this decade.”

But the company stopped short of promising not to sell any more cars with internal combustion engines. Some regions of the world by 2030 may not have the charging networks that make owning an electric vehicle practical.

“Mercedes-Benz will be ready to go all-electric at the end of the decade, where market conditions allow,” the company said in a statement.

In May, existing home sales in the United States fell 0.9 percent from April as a sharp rise in prices and a shortage of houses for sale led to a slowdown in the market.

“Supply has modestly improved in recent months due to more housing starts and existing homeowners listing their homes, all of which has resulted in an uptick in sales,” Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist, said in a statement.

Existing home sales rose 1.4 percent in June from May, the National Association of Realtors said Thursday. Sales increased nearly 23 percent in June from the year before.

The median home sales price rose 23.4 percent from a year ago, to a record $363,300.

The inventory of unsold homes stood at 1.25 million, down 18.8 percent from a year ago. It typically took just 17 days to sell a home, versus 24 days last June.

The weekly figure, before seasonal adjustments, was about 406,000, an increase of 14,000 from the previous week. New claims for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, a federally funded program for jobless freelancers, gig workers and others who do not ordinarily qualify for state benefits, totaled 110,000, up about 14,000 from the week before. The figures are not seasonally adjusted. (On a seasonally adjusted basis, state claims totaled 419,000, an increase of 51,000.)

New state claims remain high by historical standards but are one-third the level recorded in early January. The benefit filings, something of a proxy for layoffs, have receded as businesses return to fuller operations, particularly in hard-hit industries like leisure and hospitality.

More than 20 states have recently discontinued some or all federal pandemic unemployment benefits — including a $300 supplement to other benefits — even though they are funded through September. Officials in those states said the payments were keeping people from seeking work. But judges in Maryland and Indiana have blocked the early cutoff, and legal challenges are pending in three other states.

A survey of 5,000 adults conducted June 22-25 by Morning Consult found that those whose unemployment benefits were about to expire felt more pressure to find work. But of all those on unemployment insurance, relatively few — 20 percent of those who had worked full time, and 28 percent of those who had worked part time — said the benefits were better than their previous work income in meeting basic expenses.

The Labor Department’s employment report for June showed that the economy had 6.8 million fewer jobs than before the pandemic. A separate report found 9.2 million job openings at the end of May as businesses that had closed or cut back during the pandemic raced to hire employees to meet the reviving demand.

But there is a substantial amount of turnover, with far more workers quitting their jobs than are being laid off — a sign that many are jumping to positions that pay even slightly more. And the rush by businesses to staff up in lower-paying jobs means that many workers can afford to wait for a better deal.

The company did not disclose the number of patients that have received the drug, which is priced at $56,000 annually on average. Biogen’s chief executive, Michel Vounatsos, said on an earnings call that a “big chunk” of the revenue had come from stockpiled inventory and that the drug’s release has been somewhat slower than the company had anticipated.

Industry analysts expected the drug to get off to a modest start. Many insurers have not yet decided how to cover it. Administration sites — typically memory clinics that see patients with cognitive problems — have been slowed by the complexities of administering the drug, which must be given as a monthly intravenous infusion.

The federal agency that administers Medicare announced earlier this month that it would initiate a monthslong review to determine whether to standardize coverage of the drug across the country, a step that could restrict which patients receive it. In the meantime, some Medicare Advantage plans, an alternative to traditional Medicare that is offered by private insurance companies, have already approved patients to receive the drug, the company said.

Biogen executives spent much of the earnings call on Thursday defending Aduhelm and the process that led to its approval.

The drug’s approval last month generated intense scrutiny, in large part because there is scant evidence that it can help patients. Some major medical centers have decided not to offer it, and two congressional committees are investigating the drug’s approval and its price. Critics have also questioned the close collaboration between Biogen and the Food and Drug Administration in the lead-up to the approval.

It was the first policy announcement since the central bank offered the results of its strategy review this month, which showed that policymakers would allow emergency measures to persist even if inflation temporarily rises above 2 percent. In the review, the bank also said it would use its influence in the bond market to tackle climate change.

The central bank’s latest forward guidance, published Thursday, was changed to reflect this new strategy. Interest rates will “remain at their present or lower levels” until inflation is seen reaching 2 percent “well ahead” of the end of the central bank’s projection horizon, which is approximately three years, “and durably” for the rest of that period. Policymakers will also keep interest rates low until there is evidence that inflation will stabilize at 2 percent “over the medium term.”

“This may also imply a transitory period in which inflation is moderately above target,” the statement said.

This leads to the potential for a longer period of low interest rates and bond purchases because the central bank will not be forced to react to temporary bouts of higher inflation. In general, the region has suffered from persistently low inflation.

The new guidance has raised the bar for higher interest rates in Europe, Claus Vistesen, an economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics, wrote in a note.

Last week, data showed that the annual inflation rate in the eurozone was 1.9 percent in June, down from 2 percent in May. The central bank forecasts inflation to rise again this year before falling next year. In 2023, at the end of its projection horizon, inflation is forecast to be just 1.4 percent.

“The outlook for inflation over the medium term remains subdued,” Christine Lagarde, the central bank’s president, said on Thursday.

Previously, the central bank had been aiming for inflation below, but close to, 2 percent. Now it has a “symmetric” 2 percent target “over the medium term.”

The change in policy guidance comes as the rising number of coronavirus cases has led governments in the region to reimpose some restrictions, hoping not to derail the fragile economic recovery. On Thursday, interest rates and the pace of the central bank’s bond-buying program stayed the same.

As the vaccination rollout continues and strict lockdowns have been eased, “the recovery in the euro area economy is on track,” Ms Lagarde said. “But the pandemic continues to cast a shadow, especially as the Delta variant constitutes a growing source of uncertainty.”

In recent months, the reopening of many businesses, combined with supply chain disruptions because of shortages of critical items such as semiconductors, has led to price increases across Europe and the United States. Central banks are being pushed to explain when these increases might lead to a pullback in monetary stimulus. So far, policymakers have indicated they will withstand higher inflation as long as it is temporary.

The statement from the European Central Bank on Thursday reiterates its desire to not withdraw stimulus prematurely.

The change in the central bank’s forward guidance is intended “to underline its commitment to maintain a persistently accommodative monetary policy stance to meet its inflation target,” the statement said.

As investors expect interest rates to stay low and negative for several years in Europe, the monetary policy path is diverging even more strongly from the United States, where policymakers expect to raise interest rates in 2023.

“Almost all large corporate customers, including many of the traditional oil and gas companies, have goals to go 100 percent renewable by 2030 or 2040,” said Yuri Horwitz, Sol’s chief executive. Those commitments come as regulatory and investor scrutiny is expected to intensify in the coming years.

Private equity firms are racing to invest in renewable energy during the Biden administration, driven in part by expectations of increased public investment as the White House aims to cut the country’s fossil-fuel emissions by 80 percent by 2030. The amount of solar capacity installed in the first quarter in the United States was nearly 50 percent larger than the year before, setting a first-quarter record, according to a report by the Solar Energy Industry Association and research firm Wood Mackenzie Power & Renewables.

This week, the Carlyle Group announced it was forming a renewable energy infrastructure unit. And K.K.R. brought on Tim Short and Benoit Allehaut this spring to help steer renewable investments in its $18 billion infrastructure division. Among its recent deals was a $1.4 billion investment last year in the wind and solar company NextEra.

But KKR is still betting on fossil fuels. “Natural gas is still a very important aspect of the energy transition until we have technology solutions that allow otherwise,” Mr. Short said. And last month, the firm announced a $5.7 billion deal to create a vehicle that consolidates shale oil companies.

The moves are highly unusual and upend the traditional I.P.O. process, Erin Griffith and Lauren Hirsch report for The New York Times. No company has ever offered so many shares to everyday investors at the outset; firms typically reserve just 1 or 2 percent of their shares for customers. And investor presentations usually take place behind closed doors with Wall Street firms.

“We recognize that for many of you this will be the first I.P.O. you have had a chance to participate in,” Vlad Tenev and Baiju Bhatt, Robinhood’s founders, wrote in its offering prospectus. They added that they wanted to put customers on an “equal footing” with large institutional investors.

Robinhood is also letting its employees sell up to 15 percent of their shares immediately upon its listing, rather than having them wait the traditional six months. That could add to volatile trading.

But the risks of opening up an I.P.O. are significant. Big professional funds tend to hold stock that they buy in an I.P.O., but there is little to stop everyday investors from immediately dumping Robinhood’s shares. And any technical problems could invite regulatory scrutiny and investor lawsuits, bankers said.

In 2006, the phone service provider Vonage tried to sell shares to its customers in its I.P.O. But a technical glitch left buyers unclear whether their trades had gone through until days later, when the stock had plummeted. Customers sued Vonage, and regulators fined the banks that ran the offering.

Calls to cancel the events have intensified as more athletes test positive for the coronavirus. The event is also deeply unpopular with Japanese citizens and many public health experts, who fear a superspreader event. And there will be no spectators in the stands.

For NBCUniversal, which has paid billions of dollars for the exclusive rights to broadcast the Olympics in the United States through 2032, the event is a crucial source of revenue. There are more than 140 sponsors for NBC’s coverage on television, on its year-old streaming platform Peacock and online, an increase over the 100 that signed on for the 2016 Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro, Tiffany Hsu reports for The New York Times.

Chris Brandt, the chief marketing officer of Chipotle, said that the situation was “not ideal,” but that the company still planned to run a campaign featuring profiles of Olympic athletes.

“We do think people will continue to tune in, even without fans, as they did for all kinds of other sports,” Mr. Brandt said. “It’s going to be a diminishing factor in terms of the excitement, but we also hope that the Olympics are a bit of a unifier at a time when the country can seem to be so divided every day.”

Ad agency executives said companies were regularly checking in for updates on the coronavirus outbreak in Japan and might fine-tune their marketing messages accordingly.

“Everyone is a little bit cautious,” said David Droga, the founder of the Droga5 ad agency, which worked on an Olympics campaign for Facebook showcasing skateboarders. “People are quite fragile at the moment. Advertisers don’t want to be too saccharine or too clever but are trying to find that right tone.”

The S&P 500 was flat in early trading. The Nasdaq composite edged higher.

The yield on U.S. 10-year Treasury notes fell to 1.27 percent from 1.30 percent.

Markets in Europe were higher, with the Stoxx 600 Europe gaining 0.4 percent. The European Central Bank said interest rates will “remain at their present or lower levels” until inflation is seen reaching 2 percent “well ahead” of the end of the central bank’s projection horizon.

Oil prices rose on Thursday, with West Texas Intermediate, the U.S. crude benchmark, climbing 0.7 percent to $70.79 a barrel.

Mercedes reveals its plans to be 'ready' to go all-electric by 2030

This is Money 22 July, 2021 - 06:02am

By Rob Hull For

Mercedes-Benz outlined its plans today to invest more than €40 billion (£34.2billion) between 2022 and 2030 to develop battery electric vehicles and be ready to become an all-electric car maker by the end of the decade.

Bosses at the German luxury carmaker's parent group Daimler said it would - with its partners - build eight battery-making gigafactories across the world to ramp up its EV production, and that from 2025 all new vehicle platforms would only make electric cars.

And while Mercedes has refused to put a hard deadline on the date to end sales of petrol and diesel cars, it did make commitments to launch four new electric-vehicle platforms in less than four years' time, introduce a simple new system for public charging payments this year, and revealed it is developing EVs with driving ranges exceeding 1,000 kilometres (621 miles).

Mercedes' electric drive: Parent company Daimler on Thursday outlined how the German brand will be 'ready' to become an all-electric car maker by 2030 - though refused to put a firm date on when it will cease selling petrol and diesel vehicles

"We really want to go for it... and be dominantly, if not all, electric by the end of the decade,' Daimler chief executive Ola Källenius told Reuters, adding that spending on traditional combustion-engine technology would be 'close to zero' by 2025.

Some carmakers, including Volvo, have committed to going fully-electric by 2030, while Vauxhall announced earlier this month that it will sell only battery-powered passenger models from 2028.

'We need to move the debate away from when you build the last combustion engine because it's not relevant,' Källenius said in the interview. 

'The question is how quickly can you scale up to being close to 100 per cent electric and that's what we're focusing on.'

Daimler's announcement comes just over a week after the European Union proposed an effective ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel cars from 2035 - which will be five years behind the deadline to end sales of fossil fuel models in the UK. 

The German brand today said that as of 2025, it expects electric and hybrid electric cars to make up 50 per cent of sales, earlier than its previous forecast that this would happen by 2030.

It added that the acceleration in public uptake of EVs wouldn't necessarily be due to the local restrictions but the fact that battery-powered cars would be superior to those with internal combustion engines.

Daimler said that by 2026 it expects investment in combustion engines will have fallen 80 per cent when compared to 2019 levels, though refused to put an end date for combustion-engined vehicle production - saying it was difficult to know when customer demand for petrol and diesel cars will end. 

'A transformation of our workforce will involve tough decisions, said Sabine Kohleisen, Mercedes-Benz's head of human resources.

'Overall we must and will reduce our personal costs.' 

Källenius added: '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. Thanks to our highly qualified and motivated workforce, I am convinced that we will be successful in this exciting new era.'

Ola Källenius, chairman of the board at Daimler AG, said on Thursday that four new EV platforms will be launched in 2024 and 2025 that will underpin small and medium-to-large passenger cars, AMG performance models and its battery-powered vans

The first all-new electric vehicle architecture - MMA EV - has been promised for 2024 and will be used exclusively for smaller vehicles.

A year later, it has promised three additional platforms that will be used for the rest of its vehicle range.

The first is the MB.EA platform - this will underpin medium and large passenger vehicles, such as SUVs.

The second is AMG.EA, which will be used only for its high-performance models.

Daimler announced during today's press conference that it has acquired British firm YASA Limited to help develop high-performance electric motors specifically for its AMG.EA models to ensure they offer a superior driving experience. 

Finally, a VAN.EA platform will be used for electric light commercial vehicles.

On top of the four new electric cars promised this year - the EQA, EQB, EQS and EQV - Mercedes has also committed to launching its new EQE saloon, EQE SUV and EQS SUV in 2022.

It means that, by the end of next year, Mercedes will have eight full-EVs in the passenger car segment, including the existing EQC.

Bosses also confirmed today that there will be both an AMG and Maybach version of its luxury EQS saloon, which is already available to order.

By the end of next year, Mercedes will already have eight full-EVs in the passenger car segment, including the existing EQC. By 2025, the range will look very different and ultimately be EV dominated

While many of the promises put forward by Mercedes bosses today are looking ahead towards the end of the decade, there was one notable announcement that will bring improvements to EV ownership this year.

Its 'Plug & Charge' system is said to allow customers to plug-in, charge and unplug without extra steps needed for authentication and payment processing.  

It will be debuted later this year when in the EQS and mean drivers will be billed directly by Mercedes for any charging sessions using public devices.

It also added that it was looking to boost its existing global charging networks of 530,000 AC and DC devices.

Mercedes owners will have access to Shell's Recharge network, consisting of over 30.000 charge points by 2025 in Europe, China, and North America – including over 10.000 high-power chargers globally. 

Mercedes-Benz is also planning to launch several premium-charging sites in Europe, which will offer a bespoke charging experience with 'top-notch' facilities. 

Mercedes says its new 'Plug & Charge' system will allow customers to plug-in, charge and unplug without extra steps needed for authentication and payment processing from this year, with the tech debuted in the new EQS (pictured)

Mercedes-Benz is also planning to launch several premium-charging sites in Europe, which will offer a bespoke charging experience with 'top-notch' facilities

To supply the expanding range of EVs on offer, Mercedes says it will build eight new battery-making factories worldwide, with the support of existing and a new European partner.

One of the gigafactories will be in the US and four committed for Europe. The total production capacity will be 200GWh. 

Daimler said it would announce new European partners for its battery production plans soon. 

This expansion, Mercedes said, comes in addition to existing plans for 'nine plants dedicated to building battery systems'.  

The EU has been pushing hard to build out battery capacity to counter China's dominance of battery production and the UK already has two confirmed sites - the Britishvolt sire in Blyth, Northumberland, and Nissan's recently announced gigafactory that will be linked to the Sunderland car plant.

Rival German manufacturer, Volkswagen AG, plans to build half a dozen battery cell plants in Europe.

Daimler said that as part of its electrification strategy it would build a battery recycling plant in Kuppenheim, Germany, which would start operations in 2023.

Bosses also previewed the future of the type of cells these gigafactories will be making, claiming the next-generation batteries will be 'highly standardised' and used across 'more than 90 per cent of all Mercedes-Benz cars and vans". 

These will feature increased levels of energy density, which in turn should result in 'unprecedented' single-charge driving ranges and shorter charge times than what's currently on offer. 

Mercedes also said it is ramping up its efforts to develop solid-state battery technology, which provide an ever greater leap in performance - and safety - than the next-generation lithium-ion cells.

Mercedes bosses teased the arrival of the new EQXX concept car, which is being co-developed by the Mercedes-AMG F1 team and will provide a fully-battery range of over 1,000km (621miles) despite using existing lithium-ion batteries

It was expected that Mercedes would today take the covers off its new EQXX concept car, though announced it won't be showcased until next year.

What it has shown - though heavily disguised - is a futuristic, streamlined shape that will be mimicked by electric Mercedes models that follow between now and 2030.

It will be so aerodynamic, the German car maker says, that it will be able to cover more than 1,000 kilometres - or 621 miles - under real-world condition on a full charge, despite using existing battery technology.

Daimler chiefs also confirmed the car was being part-developed by the Mercedes-AMG F1 team. 

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Mercedes S-class 2021 review – the ‘best car in the world’ just got better | Evo

Evo 22 July, 2021 - 05:01am

Now, there’s an all-new seventh generation bearing the nomenclature that’s been around since 1972, not forgetting the luxury saloon predecessors before that which go back yet further. Called W223 in Mercedes lingo, the new car replaces the previous W222 with a pretty gentle update in terms of styling and proportions. Due to Merc’s aggressive electrification strategy with the similarly sized, but completely separate EQS, it does without any all-electric variants, instead sticking with combustion-engined and plug-in hybrid models across the range.

For now, that engine range in the UK is made up of in-line sixes in diesel and petrol forms, with a further twin-turbo V8 petrol and plug-in hybrid models coming on stream in time. AMG has also gotten its mitts on the S-class, and is due to reveal a range-topping plug-in hybrid V8 with over 800bhp, but for now we’ll focus on the here and now with the mild-hybrid six-cylinder petrol S500. The engine, as shared with Merc’s ‘53’ AMGs, feels powerful enough, if lacking in the ultimate accessible torque of the equivalent diesel. Still, when up and running, its 429bhp (plus 22bhp from the electric motor) feels ample. Unlike its more raucous AMG applications, the straight-six is near silent on start-up, completely isolated from the cabin and is without any vibration, even when cold. The transmission is also superbly smooth and very well calibrated, switching between all nine of its ratios imperceptibly, facilitated in part by the near-silent engine.

As with all S-classes though, its strength lies in the ability to completely isolate its occupants from the outside world, a job it does with impressive capability. All S-class models ride on an air-spring set-up, with 20-inch wheels and tyres standard on UK cars, although our test car arrived on a set of 21s. Which is where a small, albeit meaningful caveat is worth mentioning. On the 21s the S500’s ride is just too brittle, all too easily finding small bumps and ridges in the road and transmitting them into the cabin. It’s quite an odd sensation, as the air springs are capable of settling the ride on longer strokes brilliantly, creating that enviable floating sensation, only to be undermined by unwelcome noise from small bumps, vibrations and thuds as 2.3 tons of luxury saloon transfers through a 35-section tyre sidewall. As a note, the optional 21-inch wheels are only available on the long-wheelbase variant of the S-class.

Something the new S-class is not, is sporty, which is rightly to be expected of something with such a clear mandate to cosset, soothe and transport in ultimate luxury. Try to pick up the pace and the S-class won’t hold itself with as much poise as a rival 7-series, to the point it’ll actually go beyond feeling ‘uncomfortable’ and instead close in on ‘slightly nauseating’. With a French assassin at the wheel, we’d suspect Ronin’s famous car chase would have ended rather more hastily. Slow things down and the S-class will quickly return to its comfort zone. But if nothing else it draws a sizeable question mark over how the chassis will handle the incoming 800bhp AMG flagship.

Typically, feel has come at the expense of this deep isolation, so there really isn’t much joy to be had from behind the wheel. But while this might not appeal to evo on its usual metrics, its sheer sophistication is deeply impressive nonetheless.

The S-class’s tech is of a very high standard, highlighted by a new infotainment system that will spread across Merc’s entire range, some simply brilliant LED headlights and a clever three-dimensional digital instrument binnacle that, although little more than a gimmick, does bring some distinction to an element now common within most new cars. 

Actual interior quality is more of a mixed bag, with extremely high-quality leathers on some surfaces, such as the seats and steering wheel, but obvious imitation leathers on the door panels, console and dashtop that look cheap by comparison. Other materials also seem to lack the previous model’s heft, and with so much glossy plastic embedded into the interior design is more often than not the material actually being interacted with.

Overall, though, driving the new S-class really is a sumptuous and at times fascinating experience. Driven by metrics of ultimate comfort, the new S-class really is in a class of its own this side of something built in Crewe or Goodwood. Just ensure it’s not on the big wheels.

The S500 costs from £97,995, with the long-wheelbase version an extra £4000. All UK-spec cars are only available in AMG Line specification, which despite some dubious details such as the fake rear exhaust finishes retains a debonair sense of occasion without being too obnoxious.

There are no individual options available in the UK, instead they’re bundled into a single upgrade package, with long-wheelbase versions also offering upgraded quarters behind the B-pillar. In terms of rivals, the BMW 7-series and Audi A8 remain key competitors that are both less comfortable but marginally more together to drive at a higher pace. Still, where comfort and luxury are concerned, the S-class still has a firm lead against its rivals. Is it still the best car in the world, though? Obviously it depends on your priorities, but regardless where ours are usually concerned, it remains an outstanding example of the modern motor car, just not on 21-inch wheels.

Chip shortages force German carmakers to throttle production even as demand recovers.

The New York Times 21 July, 2021 - 06:34am

The global semiconductor shortage is disrupting production in the German car industry just as demand rebounds strongly from the pandemic-induced downturn.

Automakers Daimler and BMW said this week that the lack of chips had forced assembly lines to slow down or stop, cutting output by tens of thousands vehicles and leading to longer wait times for customers.

This week, BMW temporarily stopped production or cut back the number of shifts at three factories in Germany and one in Britain, as well as at factories owned by suppliers in the Netherlands and Austria that assemble vehicles under contract, the company said.

As a result, production fell short by 10,000 vehicles for the week, and there is likely to be a similar shortfall next week, a BMW spokeswoman said Wednesday.

Daimler has been trying to cope with chip scarcity by giving priority to its most expensive and most profitable models. But even they have been affected, Ola Källenius, the chief executive, said during a conference call with journalists Wednesday.

Daimler had to briefly stop assembly lines at a plant in Sindelfingen, near Stuttgart, that produces Mercedes-Benz S-Class luxury cars as well as the new EQS electric vehicle, Mr. Källenius said. One cause was a shutdown at a chip supplier in Malaysia.

“We could certainly have built more cars if we had more chips,” said Harald Wilhelm, the Daimler chief financial officer, adding that he could not predict when the supply of semiconductors will catch up with demand.

“We have to work with uncertainty,” Mr. Källenius told reporters.

The semiconductor drought does not seem to have hurt profit, however. On Wednesday Daimler reported a profit for the second quarter of 3.6 billion euros, or $4.2 billion, after sales surged 44 percent to 43.5 billion euros. During the same period last year, when many showrooms were closed because of the pandemic, Daimler reported a loss of 2 billion euros.

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