Mercedes-Benz is getting ready to go all-electric by the end of the decade, where market conditions allow. Shifting from electric-first to electric-only, the world’s pre-eminent luxury car company is accelerating toward an emissions-free and software-driven future. By 2022, Mercedes-Benz will have battery electric vehicles (BEV) 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. Mercedes-Benz intends to manage this accelerated transformation while sticking to its profitability targets.
To facilitate this shift, Mercedes-Benz is unveiling a comprehensive plan which includes significantly accelerating R&D. In total, investments into battery electric vehicles between 2022 and 2030 will amount to over €40 billion. Accelerating and advancing the EV portfolio plan will bring forward the tipping point for EV adoption.
After reorganizing its powertrain activities to put planning, development, purchasing, and production under one roof, Mercedes-Benz will deepen the level of vertical integration in manufacturing and development, and insource electric drive technology. This step includes the acquisition of UK-based electric motor company YASA. With this deal, Mercedes-Benz gains access to unique axial flux motor technology and expertise to develop next-generation ultra-high performance motors. In-house electric motors, such as the eATS 2.0, are a key part of the strategy with a clear focus on efficiency and the overall cost of the entire system, including inverters and software. China, the world’s largest new energy vehicle (NEV) market, which is home to hundreds of companies and suppliers specialized in EV components and software technologies, is expected to play a key role in accelerating the Mercedes-Benz electrification strategy.
Mercedes-Benz 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. With regard to cell manufacturing, Mercedes-Benz intends to team up with new European partners to develop and efficiently produce future cells and modules, a step that ensures that Europe remains at the heart of the auto industry even in an electric era. Cell production will give Mercedes-Benz the opportunity to transform its established powertrain production network.
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.
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Mercedes-Benz is also working on setting new standards in charging: “Plug & Charge” will allow customers to plug in, charge and unplug without extra steps needed for authentication and payment processing. Plug & Charge will go live with the market launch of the EQS later this year. Mercedes me Charge is already one of the world’s largest charging networks and currently comprises more than 530,000 AC and DC charging points worldwide. Furthermore, Mercedes-Benz is working with Shell on expanding the charging network.
The transition from internal combustion engines to electric vehicles is feasible and already underway at Mercedes-Benz. Working together with employee representatives, Mercedes-Benz will continue the transformation of its workforce, making use of extensive re-skilling schemes, early retirement as well as buyouts. TechAcademies will be offering colleagues training for future-oriented qualifications. In 2020 alone, about 20,000 employees in Germany were trained in aspects of e-mobility. To deliver on plans for developing the MB.OS operating system, 3,000 new software engineering jobs will be created worldwide.
An important lever is to increase net revenue per unit by raising the proportion of high-end electric vehicles such as Mercedes-Maybach and Mercedes-AMG models, while at the same time taking more direct control over pricing and sales. Rising revenue from digital services will further support results. Mercedes is also working on further reducing variable and fixed costs and cutting the CAPEX share of investments.
Investments in combustion engines and plug-in hybrid technologies will drop by 80% between 2019 and 2026. On this basis, Mercedes-Benz projects company margins in a BEV world that are similar to those in the ICE era.