Will its rivals soon follow?
Some still need to acknowledge a certain reality about the auto industry: electrification has arrived and automakers are already investing heavily in this new powertrain technology. The writing is on the wall. Take Volkswagen, for example. It has already committed $50 billion to its electrification program in the hope of becoming an industry leader. Problem is, there's only so much money to go around and automaker must make some critical decisions as to how to spend it best. Take, for example, internal combustion engines. Should automakers continue to heavily invest in them given the onset of EVs?
According to the German language Auto, Motor, und Sport, Daimler-Benz, parent company of Mercedes, has made a critical decision on this subject. A new report claims the automaker will end development of internal combustion engines for the time being following a refreshed range of its current engine lineup.
Daimler development boss Markus Schaefer confirmed that the main focus is now on electrification, electric drives, and battery development. At the moment, Daimler is launching its latest generation of internal combustion engines, including the new inline-six-cylinder found in the Mercedes E-Class and S-Class, and various SUVs. Question is, is this the last generation inline-six as we know it? It's possible because Schaefer acknowledged to AMS there are no current plans for additional development for this specific engine.
Fortunately, Daimler has an array of brilliant engines to work with for the foreseeable future. Its high-performance AMG division is certainly not lacking in this department either. But as we also just currently learned, the next AMG GT, due to arrive sometime in 2021, is slated to receive a hybrid powertrain.
It will come powered by an updated twin-turbo 4.0-liter V8 (read: not an all-new one) connected to a battery setup for a combined output of around 650 horsepower. This V8, and all other combustion engines, can only be updated so much and for so long until they're deemed no longer financially viable, not to mention the fact they may no longer meet emissions standards.
So, is this the beginning of the end of the internal combustion engine, at least for Daimler? Probably, though combustion engines, generally speaking, are still expected to be around for several more years.