Exclusive: Mercedes' new boss wants motor giant to become emissions-free
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As Ola Källenius prepares to take over as CEO of Daimler AG in the next week, he used the launch of Mercedes-Benz’s all electric EQC in Norway to announce a sustainable business strategy.
On May 22, Källenius replaces the affable Dr Dieter Zetsche as the chairman of the Board of Management of Daimler AG and head of Mercedes-Benz.
In Norway to speak to media at the global media drive of the EQC all-electric SUV, Källenius told the Australasian media that the company will be implementing a new policy that would see half of Mercedes-Benz Cars new cars sales made up of plug-in hybrids or all-electric vehicles by 2030.
“And by 2039, that’s three life cycles of vehicles, we have the ambition to have a new car fleet that is Co2 neutral,” Källenius told the Australasian media.
“By 2022, our exisiting plants and new plants will all be Co2 neutral, and we expect our supply chain to join us in C02 deductions, and 70 per cent of our parts come from suppliers.”
He used Norway as an example of being 100% CO2 free from its energy sources. New Zealand has 80% renewable energy.
The plan would see the company be carbon neutral, and won’t see the death of the internal combustion engine, instead the strategy for Mercedes-Benz would likely offset its C02 footprint due in the production of petrol and diesel engines.
Driven asked Källenius that just days before he becomes the CEO would the sustainable business strategy be seen as his legacy plan for the role.
“It is the Mercedes-Benz brand’s focus of the future … the whole board decided on this, not just me,” he said.
The EQC stands for Electric Intelligence C range, and joins the Smart ForTwo and Smart ForFour as all electric vehicles for Daimler
With the launch of the EQC 400 4Matic in Norway, Mercedes said that by 2022 it would have 10 all electric vehicles in its fleet, though Källenius would not state what model range in the brand's fleet would be next to add an electric vehicle.
“We’ll have big SUVs and small electric SUVs,” he said.
He did concede that the company still faced the high cost of producing electric vehicles due to the expense of producing batteries so a cheap EV would be a way off. But Driven expected to see an EQS, EQE and EQA in production in the next 18 months.
The EQC goes on sale in Europe mid this year, and is set to retail in New Zealand early 2020 though Mercedes-Benz NZ did not know the price of the vehicle yet.
Driven is in Norway to drive the EQC with our initial report on Driven.co.nz tomorrow.