Electric mobility: We’re keeping the pedal to the metal

How is the electric offensive progressing at Mercedes-Benz and smart? What is the strategy behind? And what does the current and future portfolio of our product and technology brand EQ look like? At the Geneva Motor Show, we gave journalists some insights into our electric “roadmap”.

The next steps: the battery electric models from smart are the first series-produced vehicles of the Mercedes-Benz cars EQ family. In the future, we will also have new EQ Power plug-in hybrid drivetrains in our product range.

At Daimler, we’re convinced that the future belongs to electrified drive systems! That’s not only because they help to locally reduce nitrogen oxide, carbon dioxide, and noise emissions — it’s also because they’re a lot of fun.

Three pillars for Electric Mobility

If you’ve already had the opportunity to drive one of our electric, hybrid or fuel-cell cars, I know you’ll agree. Full torque from the very start, relaxed cruising, and powerful boosts — it doesn’t take long for drivers to get hooked.

As the inventor of the automobile, we aim to play an indispensable role in shaping and promoting electric mobility in all of its facets through our CASE strategy.

For example, we’ve once again greatly accelerated our development of alternative drive systems, and we want to have more than 50 electrified vehicle variants in our product range by 2022.

We also want to offer more than ten all-electric models, ranging from a city car to a big SUV. All of these vehicles will be connected to an ecosystem of services and technologies that will make it very easy to travel in an electrified vehicle in the future.

In addition, we would like to offer all of our customers exactly the products that are right for them. We’re moving forward in three areas.

EQ BOOST

We call the first pillar of our drivetrain strategy EQ BOOST. It consists of efficient high-tech combustion engines that we will make even more fuel-efficient by means of a starter generator and a 48-volt onboard power system.

This way we’ll achieve savings that were previously restricted to high-voltage hybrid technologies. In the medium term, we will offer at least one EQ BOOST variant in every Mercedes-Benz model series.

48-volt battery – electrifying and  efficiency-raising

Plug-in hybrid drive

The second pillar consists of our vehicles with plug-in hybrid drive, which we believe is the key technology leading to emission-free driving. We’ve already put eight vehicle models with plug-in hybrid drivetrains on the road. And more will follow:

Our first diesel plug-in hybrids for the C and E-Class, which were presented in Geneva as pre-production models, will be launched on the market later this year. This drive system is based on our four-cylinder diesel engine of the latest generation, whose high efficiency has been confirmed many times by independent testers and automotive journalists.

Mercedes-Benz pre-series model

 

Mercedes-Benz pre-series model

In addition, in Switzerland we will be showcasing our S 560 e model, which can drive up to 50 kilometers on electric power alone, thanks to our new plug-in hybrid generation and refined operating strategy. (Combined fuel consumption: 2.1 l/100 km; CO2 emissions (combined): 49 g/km*)

Incidentally, we call our plug-in hybrids EQ POWER or EQ POWER+. “EQ Power+” stands for our high-performance hybrid technology, which is utilized especially in Mercedes-AMG vehicles such as the Mercedes-AMG Project ONE and our Formula 1 racing cars.

In addition, the fuel cell is, and will remain, an important part of our electric offensive. Our GLC F-CELL pre-production vehicle is the world’s first electric vehicle that combines fuel-cell and rechargeable plug-in battery drive systems.

Mercedes-Benz pre-series model GLC F-CELL

It offers very long operating ranges as well as extremely short refueling times, and it will be delivered to our first customers in Germany this year.

EQ

The third pillar of our strategy consists of our cars with purely battery-electric drive, which we offer under the EQ brand. They include, for example, our smart EQ fortwo and forfour electric vehicles, as well as the EQC, which we will present this year.

This video, which we made during the winter driving trials in Sweden, will give you an initial impression of the first Mercedes-Benz EQ:

One modular system, countless variations

The large electric vehicles we will produce in the future under the EQ brand will be based on our new cross-model modular drivetrain architecture. It is scalable in every regard — for example, in terms of the wheelbase, track width, and batteries.

Our modular system for our EQ BOOST and EQ POWER vehicles includes ultramodern four and six-cylinder diesel and gasoline engines, electric modules for our plug-in hybrids, a special transmission, all-wheel drive concepts, starter generators, and components for the 48-volt onboard power system.

A big investment in the mobility of the future

Our investments in electrification show that we are serious about the mobility of the future. We will be spending approximately €10 billion between now and 2022 to expand our range of EQ models alone.

In addition, we will spend about €1 billion to expand our global battery production network. About €500 million of that amount will be spent just on the construction of a second production plant for batteries at our Accumotive subsidiary in Kamenz.

In parallel, behind our plant gates we will be preparing for the production of our future EQ models. In the future they will roll off the assembly lines of six production plants on three continents — the same assembly lines as our traditional combustion-engine vehicles.

We estimate that in the year 2025 up to one quarter of all the automobiles we sell at Mercedes-Benz Cars will be electric vehicles.

Thinking about electric mobility holistically

However, simply having the right vehicles and components in our product portfolio is not enough, of course. Electric mobility will become popular on a large scale only if customers can recharge their cars quickly and conveniently everywhere they go.

In order to get to that point, two things are needed: technologies and services that make it as easy as possible to operate electrified vehicles, and a dense infrastructure of charging stations.

We are forging ahead in both of these areas. For example, in our IONITY joint venture we are working to expand a high-powered quick-charging network throughout Europe. We plan to set up 400 charging stations along major transportation routes all over Europe by 2020.

In addition, we have bought an interest in the U.S. company ChargePoint, a leading provider of charging solutions that operates more than 33,000 charging ports in the United States.

EQ is picking up speed

Clearly, all systems are go at Daimler when it comes to electrification. In our EQ BOOST, EQ POWER, EQ POWER+, and EQ vehicles we are already offering a wealth of opportunities to drive in ways that are sustainable, locally emission-free, and lots of fun. And we’ll be opening up additional opportunities in the future. Are you too thinking about making the transition? It’s your choice!

You find more Information about the Daimler CASE activities here.

Sincerely yours, Wilko Stark


* Weitere Informationen zum offiziellen Kraftstoffverbrauch und den offiziellen spezifischen CO₂-Emissionen neuer Personenkraftwagen können dem „Leitfaden über den Kraftstoffverbrauch, die CO₂-Emissionen und den Stromverbrauch“ neuer Personenkraftwagen entnommen werden, der an allen Verkaufsstellen und bei der Deutschen Automobil Treuhand GmbH unter www.dat.de unentgeltlich erhältlich ist.

Wilko Stark is the head of strategy for Daimler and Mercedes-Benz Cars & CASE.