Daimler AG will be investing some 5 billion yuan (~$755 million) as part of its push to manufacture plug-in electric vehicles and associated battery packs in China with its joint-venture partner there (BAIC Motor Corp). That’s what a company exec has just revealed at the Guangzhou motor show.
The move is of course something of a necessity, as without such an investment, Daimler would likely lose a fair amount of market share — owing to the country’s soon-to-be-in-effect electric vehicle sales and production quotas.
The investments are part of the company’s already announced €10 billion ($11.8 billion) global green car initiative, Daimler’s head of greater China operations, Hubertus Troska, revealed.
“If there’s one country in the world (that could) grow demand for electrics, that’s China because no other countries have so many big cities,” Troska stated.
Reuters provides more: “Daimler said on Friday the company and BAIC aim to produce locally in China battery-powered electric vehicles under the EQ brand by 2019. The first EQ vehicle Daimler and BAIC plan to launch in China will be the EQC, a battery-powered crossover sport utility vehicle (SUV).
“Globally, Daimler plans to invest €10 billion in the expansion of its electric fleet over the next few years. By 2022, Mercedes-Benz’s offerings will be ‘electrified,’ a spokeswoman said, meaning customers will be offered an electrified alternative in every Mercedes model.
“China has set strict quotas for electric and plug-in hybrid cars that come into effect from 2019. It has a target of 2 million so-called new-energy vehicle (NEV) sales by 2020 and has signaled longer-term it will phase out the sale of conventional petrol-engine cars.”
Leadership? Yes, on China’s part.
Accompanying this news, Volkswagen AG made a similar announcement, revealing that it was planning to spend some €10 billion by 2025 to develop and release plug-in electric vehicles in anticipation of the new EV quotas in China. It plans to invest $40 billion overall by 2022 on electric car & mobility tech. That’s significantly up from a commitment of $20 billion by the year 2030 the company was espousing just a couple of months ago. What’s going on here — pro-EV board members winning more arguments, board members growing a bit more of a moral spine, China’s pressure pushing them over the edge, and/or Tesla’s pressure pushing them over the edge?