Change is happening faster than expected.
The internal combustion engine is living on borrowed time but no one knows exactly when it'll be phased out for good. Carmakers big and small are committing themselves to full electrification and another is ready to declare its intentions.
Automotive News Europe learned from a "high-ranking" Mercedes-Benz official the plan is to mostly eliminate combustion engines by the end of the decade. "We are switching from EV first to EV only," they said.
In the short term, the plug-in and hybrid offerings will continue to expand but the combustion engines, including some diesels they're linked to, won't be available in all markets after 2030.
Mercedes is aware PHEV demand will continue to exist throughout the next decade in some parts of the world but expect battery electrics and perhaps some hydrogen fuel cell models to make up the overwhelming majority of vehicles. Yes, it's very possible Mercedes will no longer sell combustion engines in America in less than 10 years' time, but no formal announcement has been made.
More details are expected to be revealed later this month at an event featuring CEO Ola Kallenius. Chances are he'll announce plans for new platforms complete with their own operating system. The first of these EVs could debut as soon as 2024. This is quite a drastic change from the German automaker's initial plans regarding the introduction of battery-powered electric models.
Not long ago, the plan was for PHEVs and EVs to account for just over 50 percent of passenger vehicle sales by 2030. That now appears to be out the window as EV sales and popularity are expected to dramatically grow. The Mercedes EQS luxury and technology flagship is only the start. Many of its features will soon trickle down to less expensive models.
It'll also be very interesting to see how Mercedes-AMG reacts to the news. It'll be awfully difficult, not to mention expensive, for AMG to develop and build combustion engines all by its lonesome self. We should have a better picture of Mercedes' short- and long-term plans on July 22 during its strategy day presentation.