Mercedes is mercilessly hunting BMW, VW and Tesla.
As the world slowly begins to emerge from the coronavirus pandemic, automakers are embracing full-scale electrification. Dropping combustion engines probably would have happened sooner or later, but the new reality brought on by the pandemic has changed things. And now Mercedes-Benz is moving towards its electrification goal faster than previously announced thanks to a strong 2021 sales start. Reuters reports Mercedes' parent company Daimler CEO, Ola Kallenius, confirmed the news with investors this week during a video conference.
"We want to accelerate the electrification of our product portfolio," he said. "It's our goal to reach this target sooner." In 2019, the German automaker pledged for plug-in hybrids and/or all-electric vehicles will consist of more than 50 percent of total global passenger vehicle sales by 2030.
Kallenius did not provide a precise date for its new goal, but anywhere from 2025 to 2029 sounds about right. The company also plans to retool two major German plants for EV production and will retrain assembly line workers. Next month, the Mercedes EQS all-electric flagship luxury sedan will debut, riding on a dedicated EV platform. The slightly smaller EQE sedan will arrive at a later date, along with SUV body styles for both.
Mercedes' new electrification goal is important because it needs to remain ahead of the competition. Tesla's success cannot be ignored, but nor can other rivals' weaknesses. Take BMW, for example. It's not launching its new platform that will underpin both its battery-electrics and fossil fuel cars until 2025, and that's assuming there won't be any delays.
Mercedes' other domestic rival, the Volkswagen Group, is pressing ahead with its own extremely aggressive electrification pursuit with multiple platforms at its disposal. Earlier this week, Mercedes revealed details about soon-to-be-revealed new models, specifically the next Mercedes-AMG C63 that will embrace hybrid technology. Other future pure battery-electrics could be branded as AMG models while performance hybrids will have the E Performance label.
The former will also ride on the new Mercedes Electric Vehicle Architecture (EVA). To assist, Daimler is also finalizing plans to spin off its highly successful truck and bus division in order for Mercedes to have a better focus on the all-electric luxury passenger car business.