German car maker Mercedes-Benz has announced plans to produce six new all-electric vehicles, including one with a 700km range, as part of a fast-tracked new strategic course to become a world leader in electric drive, battery technology and proprietary car software.
The new strategy, dubbed “Electric First,” was unveiled on Tuesday, along with plans to roll out four four all-new electric vehicles based on the automaker’s upcoming large-car Electric Vehicle Architecture (EVA), one of which will be launched next year.
Mercedes said it would be developing the next generation of eMotors in house, using sophisticated inverter and high voltage technology, and other innovations from its newly launched Vision EQXX technology program that will “quickly make their way into series production cars.”
The company also claims to be taking “huge strides” on battery technology, working in-house with key strategic partners CATL, Farasis and Sila Nano on new materials and production processes to increase range and reduce charging time and cost.
“The aim is to build an electric vehicle with spectacular efficiency and range,” the company said in its strategy update on Tuesday.
“With this new strategy we are announcing our clear commitment to the full electrification of our product portfolio and our determination to ensure the business is fully carbon-neutral, in line with our Ambition 2039 target.”
Leading the electric push will be a “cross-functional, multi-disciplinary team” based in Stuttgart, supported by specialists from the Mercedes-Benz F1 HPP group in the UK, who will bring expertise in eMotors and motorsport-inspired development speed.
Mercedes-Benz has also announced its own proprietary MB.OS operating system, a software platform that will be developed in-house and rolled out in 2024, allowing the sort of centralised control and frequent software updates that Tesla has made standard.
Through all this, the car maker’s focus will be re-trained on the luxury car segment, with plans for four new luxury all-electric vehicles and the near-term electrification of some of the brand’s existing higher-end models, including the G Wagon, the AMG and the Maybach.
Mercedes says the first all-new model, the EQS luxury sedan, will be the first representative of the car-maker’s new dedicated architecture and will reach the market in 2021 with an impressive range of more than 700km.
This will be followed by variations on that theme, with the EQE, the EQS-SUV and the EQE-SUV. Then, from 2025, multiple further models will be added to the electric vehicle portfolio on a second all-new dedicated electric platform designed for small and medium-sized cars, the Mercedes-Benz Modular Architecture (MMA).
In the compact class, production of the EQA, the fully electric brother of the GLA, will start later this year, followed by the EQB in 2021.
“Our strategy is designed to avoid non-core activities to focus on winning where it matters: dedicated electric vehicles and proprietary car software,” said Ola Källenius, the chair of Daimler and Mercedes-Benz.
“We will take action on structural costs, target strong and sustained profitability,” Källenius said.
Markus Schäfer, Mercedes-Benz Cars COO and head of research for Daimler Group, said the company would “strive for nothing less” than taking the lead in electric drive technology and car software.
“We are going to do it the Mercedes way, bringing a true luxury experience to the world of electric and connected cars.
“We will leverage in-house technology development and strategic partnerships to deliver superb products,” Schäfer said.
“And from 2025 on, we are targeting strong contribution margins for all new architectures thanks to high commonality and controlled investment, and ongoing falls in the cost of battery systems.
“While we will expand the electrified portfolio towards a share of more than 50% of global sales by 2030, our investments in combustion engine development will decline quickly and the number of combustion engine variants will fall by 70% by 2030.”