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Mercedes announces 20-year sustainability plan

New dawn: Incoming head of Mercedes-Benz Cars Ola Kaellenius has announced the brand’s sustainability plan for the next 20 years.

Carbon-neutral vehicle fleet by 2039 for Mercedes-Benz Cars

15 May 2019


MERCEDES-BENZ Cars has announced a 20-year business strategy to greatly reduce its carbon footprint via a carbon-neutral vehicle fleet by 2039.


Called Ambition2039, the plan also includes a target of more than 50 per cent of its new-vehicle sales to be plug-in hybrid or full-EV models by 2030.


Mercedes has not specified if internal-combustion engines will still be a part of its product portfolio in 2039, but hinted at the use of synthetic fuels in future alongside battery-electric and hydrogen fuel-cell powertrains.


By 2025, all Mercedes engines will feature some form of hybridisation, starting with its 48-volt belt-driven starter-alternator set-up found on current models including the 53 AMG range of six-cylinder engines.


The plan was announced by incoming Daimler AG chairman of the board of management Ola Kaellenius who later this month will take from Dieter Zetsche who has been in the role since 2006.


Key to the brand’s plan for a carbon-neutral fleet is the introduction of its EQ family of all-electric models that will begin with the EQC medium SUV set for launch globally from July, and touching down in Australia in October.


Mercedes plans to launch 10 pure-EV models by 2022, with more to come.


Mr Kaellenius said the reduction of CO2 levels is only one part of the company’s broader sustainability plan.


“We have been in the last year or so working intensively on what we call a sustainable business strategy – not sustainability on the side of your business strategy but a sustainable business strategy – which has several dimensions, and today we are focusing on the CO2 dimension of this business strategy,” he said.


“And for Mercedes-Benz Cars we have always since founding fathers of the company been a company looking into the future.”


To reduce its carbon footprint, Benz will look beyond its vehicle fleet, also aiming to make its factories and manufacturing processes more efficient.


By 2022, all of Mercedes’ European plants will have achieved carbon neutrality, and new plants will be built as carbon-neutral from the start.


Renewable energy will be used to power plants such as the EQC manufacturing plant in Bremen and the battery production facility in Saxony.


Recycling of raw materials will also become a greater point of emphasis, with Mercedes envisaging up to 85 per cent of its raw materials to be recycled.


Mr Kaellenius said Mercedes would encourage its suppliers to follow its lead, offering incentives to do so.


“We want to encourage our suppliers to join us on this journey,” he said.


“Typically you buy about 70 per cent of the contents of the vehicle from suppliers, so we want them to join us in defining CO2 reduction paths as part of this 20-year journey. And we will start by creating transparency and also make it an award criteria in the future.”


Mr Kaellenius acknowledged that the new business plan would require significant financial investment. However, the aim was for the company to be forward-thinking and proactive instead of reactive.


Mercedes has also targeted Ionity as a source of reduced emissions. The European EV fast-charging network started as a joint venture between Mercedes parent company Daimler, BMW Group, Ford Motor Company and Volkswagen Group including Audi and Porsche, with Mr Kaellenius saying it would aim to have Ionity stations powered by renewables “wherever possible”.


When asked if the plan was meant as a bold statement of intention from Mr Kaelennius as he takes the reins at Mercedes, he said it was rather a board-wide decision that had been in planning for some time.


“The sustainable business strategy is something that we have been working on since the beginning of last year so this is a project of the whole current board, where we have engaged dozens and dozens of people in decision-making in the company so it is truly a team product,” he said.


“So I would not like to put that in connection with the switch in management that we have on the 22nd, but rather a broad-based Daimler (strategy).”

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