Amaan AhmedJul 22, 2021 19:09:13 IST
In a major global announcement made on 22 July, luxury carmaker Mercedes-Benz revealed it is accelerating its shift to an electric-only portfolio of vehicles. Under its revised strategy, Mercedes-Benz will globally offer a battery electric vehicle (BEV) alternative to every model it sells by 2022, will roll out three new EV-exclusive platforms come 2025, and by 2030, the brand plans to sell only BEVs in countries “where market conditions allow” such an approach.
Mercedes-Benz electric vehicle strategy revealed
Terming it “the most significant re-allocation of capital in decades and an even more rapid pivot away from the combustion engine”, Ola Källenius, CEO of Daimler AG and Mercedes-Benz AG, said the carmaker will invest over €40 billion between 2022 and 2030 into developing EVs and related EV technologies. Revising its earlier target, Mercedes now estimates electrified vehicles will account for half of its global sales by 2025. The company has also said it will focus on prioritising profits over volumes, and to that end, will focus on selling more of its super-luxury offerings and standardising most of the components for its entire range of vehicles.
The four BEV-exclusive platforms will be scalable and modular, allowing for both development costs as well as development times to be slashed by a significant margin. In 2024, Mercedes-Benz will roll out the first model based on the MMA architecture – a BEV-oriented platform for compact vehicles such as the A-Class and GLA – and will follow that up with the launch of three BEV-only platforms in 2025. The first of those will be the MB.EA architecture (for medium and large passenger vehicles such as the E-Class/GLE and S-Class/GLS).
Mercedes-Benz’s AMG performance division, too, is going all-electric, and will utilise the second EV-only platform, named AMG.EA. Lastly, Mercedes’ electric commercial vehicles will be based on the Van.EA platform. Almost all new Mercedes-Benz EVs will also share a common battery platform.
Mercedes-Benz EV portfolio
Post the introduction of the all-electric EQA, EQB, EQS and EQV models, Mercedes-Benz is set to unveil the EQE sedan (E-Class alternative), the EQE SUV (GLE alternative) and EQS SUV (GLS alternative) by next year. Additionally, Mercedes-Benz confirmed it will launch an all-electric version of the G-Class SUV (potentially named EQG) in 2024. The company is also expected to roll out a performance-oriented version of the EQS sedan, as well as Mercedes-Maybach versions of the EQS sedan and SUV.
During the strategy update announcement, Mercedes-Benz also revealed it is readying a new EV named ‘Vision EQXX’, which will have an impressive real-world range of over 1,000 kilometres, but not by employing an impossibly-large battery pack.
“We instructed them to aim beyond 1,000 km on one charge. But not by making the battery bigger. Anybody could do that. No, they’re working with a normal sized battery, destined for series production in a forthcoming Mercedes compact car”, said Markus Schäfer, Chief Operating Officer at Mercedes-Benz cars. The EQXX, which will make its world premiere in 2022, is said to have ‘pioneering body castings and sophisticated materials’ and the target is to “integrate these new technologies in future Mercedes road cars”, added Schäfer.
Mercedes-Benz to set up eight gigafactories
In order to secure enough batteries for this ambitious EV expansion, Mercedes-Benz has announced it will team up with battery specialists to set up eight gigafactories with a total capacity of over 200 gWh, one of which will be in the US and four in Europe.
It is also working to develop solid-state batteries, which bring benefits on the energy density, weight reduction, charging cycles and safety fronts.
What does this ambitious EV plan spell for India?
Mercedes-Benz introduced its EQ EV sub-brand in India in 2020 with the launch of the EQC SUV. With competition in the luxury EV space heating up, Mercedes-Benz is unlikely to cede any ground to its rivals in the time to come. In terms of products, the Mercedes-Benz EQS is set to be introduced in India sometime in 2022, and Mercedes-Benz could well look at introducing the EQA or EQB as a rival to Volvo’s XC40 Recharge (due for launch later this year). Any future EVs – including the EQE sedan as well as EQE and EQS SUVs are also highly likely to make it to India. Additionally, the company will also bring a plug-in hybrid version of the new Mercedes-Benz S-Class in the time to come.
However, it is unclear at this point if Mercedes-Benz sees India as one of the markets that will be ready to accept an electric-only lineup by the end of the decade. Mercedes-Benz India is yet to respond to a query from Tech2 on how this aggressive, global electrification plan will influence the company’s India strategy.