Mercedes-Benz prepares to go all-electric

Mercedes-Benz is getting ready to go all-electric by the end of the decade, where market conditions allow. Shifting from electric-first to electric-only, the company is accelerating toward an emissions-free and software-driven future. The company has big plans for an electric future, with a huge cash injection and has set out the road map to achieve these. We have the full outline below.

By 2022, Mercedes will have battery electric vehicles (BEVs) in all segments the company serves. From 2025 onwards, all newly launched vehicle architectures will be electric-only. Customers will be able to choose an electric vehicle (EV) alternative for every model the company makes.

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To facilitate this shift, Mercedes-Benz is unveiling a comprehensive plan which includes significantly accelerating research and development. In total, investments into battery electric vehicles between 2022 and 2030 will amount to over €40 billion. Accelerating and advancing the EV portfolio plan will bring forward the tipping point for EV adoption.

In 2025 Mercedes-Benz will launch three electric-only architectures (EA). These will cover all medium to large size passenger cars, establishing a scalable modular system as the electric backbone for the future EV portfolio.

Mercedes will also use a dedicated performance electric vehicle platform addressing technology and performance-oriented Mercedes-AMG customers. Plus, the company will usher purpose-made electric vans and light commercial vehicles (LCVs).

Mercedes-Benz will deepen the level of vertical integration in manufacturing and development, and insource electric drive technology. This step includes the acquisition of UK based electric motor company YASA.

With this deal, Mercedes-Benz gains access to unique axial flux motor technology and expertise to develop next-generation ultra-high performance motors. In-house electric motors, such as the eATS 2.0, are a key part of the strategy with a clear focus on efficiency and the overall cost of the entire system.

China, the world’s largest new energy vehicle (NEV) market, is expected to play a key role in accelerating the brand’s electrification strategy.

Concerning batteries, the company will need a battery capacity of more than 200 Gigawatt hours. Mercedes plan to set up eight Gigafactories together with its partners around the world. This is in addition to the already planned network of nine plants dedicated to building battery systems.

Next-generation batteries will be highly standardised and suitable for use in more than 90 percent of all Mercedes-Benz cars and vans. These will remain flexible enough to offer individual solutions to all customers.

With regard to cell manufacturing, Mercedes-Benz intends to team up with new European partners to develop and efficiently produce future cells and modules. This is a step that ensures Europe remains at the heart of the auto industry even in an electric era.

Cell production will give Mercedes the opportunity to transform its established powertrain production network. By continuously integrating the most advanced battery cell technology in cars and vans, Mercedes aims to increase range during the production lifecycle of a model.

With the next battery generation, Mercedes will work with partners like SilaNano to further increase energy density by using silicon-carbon composite in the anode. This will allow for unprecedented range and even shorter charging times. When it comes to solid-state technology, Mercedes-Benz is in talks with partners to develop batteries with even higher energy density and safety.

Mercedes is also working on setting new standards in charging. Their ‘Plug & Charge’ will allow customers to plug-in, charge and unplug without extra steps needed for authentication and payment processing. Plug & Charge will go live with the market launch of the EQS later this year.

Mercedes me Charge is already one of the world’s largest charging networks and currently comprises more than 530,000 AC and DC charging points worldwide. Furthermore, Mercedes-Benz is working with Shell on expanding the charging network.

Customers will get enhanced access to Shell’s Recharge network consisting of over 30,000 charge points by 2025 in Europe, China, and North America. This includes over 10,000 high-power chargers globally. Mercedes-Benz is also planning to launch several premium-charging sites in Europe, which will offer a bespoke charging experience with top-notch facilities.

When it comes to charging Mercedes-Benz is currently developing the Vision EQXX. This is an electric car with a real-world range of more than (621 miles (1,000km). They will also target a single-digit figure for Kwh per 100 kilometres (over 6 miles per Kwh) at normal highway driving speeds.

A multi-disciplinary team, including experts from Mercedes-Benz’s F1 High Performance Powertrain division (HPP), is making rapid progress towards the project’s ambitious goals. The world premiere will be in 2022. Technological advances made with Vision EQXX will be adapted and applied for potential use in new electric architectures.

Mercedes-Benz is currently preparing its global production network for electric-only output with the pace of the ramp-up designed to follow market demand. Thanks to early investments into flexible manufacturing, and the state-of-the art MO360 production system, Mercedes-Benz can mass-produce BEVs already today.

As soon as next year, eight Mercedes-Benz electric vehicles will be produced at seven locations on three continents. Furthermore, all passenger car and battery assembly sites run by Mercedes-Benz AG will switch to carbon-neutral production by 2022.

To enhance manufacturing efficiency, Mercedes-Benz is joining forces with GROB, a German global leader in highly innovative battery production and automation systems. The cooperation focuses on battery module assembly as well as pack assembly.

Mercedes also plan to install a new battery recycling factory in Kuppenheim, Germany, to develop and secure recycling capacity and know-how. The start of operations will be in 2023, depending on the outcome of promising discussions with public authorities.

The transition from internal combustion engines to electric vehicles is feasible and already underway at Mercedes-Benz. Mercedes-Benz will continue the transformation of its workforce, making use of extensive re-skilling schemes, early retirement as well as buyouts.

TechAcademies will be offering colleagues training for future-oriented qualifications. In 2020 alone, about 20,000 employees in Germany were trained in aspects of e-mobility. To deliver on plans for developing the MB.OS operating system, 3,000 new software engineering jobs will be created worldwide.

Mercedes-Benz remains committed to the margin targets outlined in fall 2020. Last year’s targets were based on the assumption of selling 25 percent hybrid and electric vehicles by 2025.

Today’s reiteration is based on an assumed share of up to 50 percent by 2025 and a market scenario for new car sales which in essence has switched to fully electric by the end of the decade.

The proportion of battery costs within the vehicle is expected to fall significantly. Capital allocation is moving from EV-first to EV-only. Investments in combustion engines and plug-in hybrid technologies will drop by 80 percent between 2019 and 2026. On this basis, Mercedes-Benz projects company margins in a BEV world that are similar to those in the ICE era.

Ian Osborne
Ian Osborne
Editor-in-Chief at ElectricDrives

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