The head of research and development at Daimler, Thomas Weber, has announced that the company will be moving forward with its plans for substantial investment into electric vehicles — with up to €10 billion ($11 billion) in total investment.
The firm’s plans are apparently for 10 electric vehicles, based around the same architecture, to be released by 2025.
He stated: “By 2025 we want to develop 10 electric cars based on the same architecture. For this push we want to invest up to €10 billion.”
The vice president of sales and product management at Daimler-owned Mercedes-Benz, Matthias Lührs, commented as well, noting that there was a plan to offer plug-in hybrid (PHEV) versions of every model in the company’s lineup by 2020. As well as that: “From next year onward, we’ll have 10 vehicles as such — the broadest model range of plug-in hybrids in the luxury market. And we see huge customer demand in that respect.” [Editor’s Note: interesting that they see “huge customer demand” while Ford CEO Mark Fields claims essentially the opposite.]
Notably, Daimler is part of the group working on the recently announced pan-Europe electric vehicle fast-charging network, which is expected to be built out by 2020. Such a network will be a necessity if the company is going to attract mainstream interest in electric vehicles.
The Daimler/Mercedes-Benz execs apparently see expected increasingly strict emissions standards in Europe (or outright bans) being one of the main drivers of a shift to electric vehicles — in conjunction with the increasing prevalence of self-driving and “connected” cars.
Our sister site Gas 2 provides more: “The latest buzzword in the auto industry is ‘ecosystem.’ No, that has nothing to do with the melting of the polar ice caps or the bleaching of The Great Barrier Reef [one of the effects of ocean acidification]. It refers to an automotive environment in which the car is seamless connected to the owner, the internet, and digital world. It is now expected that everything will work in harmony — hardware and software, car and smartphone, driving and being driven, owning and sharing.”
As Lührs put it recently: “Connected vehicles, autonomous vehicles, shared services, we call it an ecosystem … we see interdependencies.”
“Imagine one day — let’s say, at the latest, in 2025 — there might be a new EQ S-class coming around the corner, and you’re calling it through your EQ app. The car will be picking you up, driving autonomously in the garage, and then picking up the next person. We’re talking about car sharing here — fewer cars on the road, a very friendly ecosystem, and very convenient. You don’t have to call Uber. You call your EQ.”
An interesting idea, though it still remains to be seen how effective, or popular with consumers, such systems will actually be. I remain skeptical myself that there will actually be a reduction in the number of vehicles on the road following the mass adoption of on-demand self-driving taxi services. A lot of people who would otherwise rely on mass transit will probably shift to using such services, once they are available.
As a reminder, the Mercedes-Benz electric SUV concept recently displayed at the Paris Motor Show isn’t expected to hit the market until 2019.
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