OEM INTERVIEW DAIMLER
reduce their existing investment to bring down the cost.
We challenged our production teams to make use of the
investment – there are huge factories making tons of
battery cells, so we had to look for the best to partner with.
It’s a Mercedes philosophy that no matter if we make it or
buy it, we always are involved in the engineering.
There was a time not long ago when people didn’t
want to touch diesel, but you’ve introduced it to
PHEV variants of the GLE and GLC – do you see a
future for it then?
It depends on segments, but I do believe there really is
a future for diesel. We have markets where people love
diesel as it fi ts to their driving needs. The GLE diesel
PHEV combines two perfect drivetrains for that
segment. Diesel is very e cient for CO and
long-distance driving, and with the EV range
the cars off ers, we can cover the needs for
the average daily drive and long distance
by combining these two technologies.
We have the cleanest diesel available in
the market and if we’re talking CO
targets, which is a good thing, then
diesel is an important part of this.
Sometimes discussions around diesel
can be more emotional than rational.
What is your electrifi cation strategy
surrounding commercial vehicles?
We have a number of electrifi ed trucks and
buses on the commercial vehicle side, but fuel cell
90 // January 2020 // www.electrichybridvehicletechnology.com
technology is important too. If you look
into commercial applications I see
long-haul truck driving makes much
more sense with a fuel cell than battery;
but if you look at local area and city
goods transportation, then a batterypowered
truck is a more valid option. In
an industry where things change a lot, you
have to have a balanced strategy – no one
system fi ts all.
What were the business case and
development discussions around
light commercial vehicles (LCVs) and
what were the technical challenges behind
modifying an existing product with the EQV?
We see a demand with city limits and local emission-free
driving, but ultimately it comes down to our Ambition2039
target, and if you want to electrify the whole company, you
have to look at vans. Vans are a big part of our business, you
can get a lot of people in one van and they are an e cient
way of transporting people from A to B.
From an engineering point of view, they are good for
battery integration without sacrifi cing any space within the
cabin because they are big already. Also, something to
consider was to make sure our existing production lines
can handle the vehicle, because then we are able to be
fl exible and take advantage of all the existing quality
controls and volume production already on-site. We did
this also for our EQC fully-electric SUV.
Is there anything you would like to change about
the industry to help meet your 2039 target?
There is not one thing, but several things that need to
change, and they are all interlinked. Technically, it would
be battery technology, but I’m very confi dent we will see big
changes within the next 10 years. Infrastructure is also
defi nitely something that society should think about.
But if I had one wish, I want everyone to start talking
about the advantages of CO-neutral mobility and for the
industry to think about car design. We have a lot of
information on the table about how we want to achieve our
goal in 2039, but we have to do that within three model
cycles, which isn’t a lot for the car industry.
6. By 2030, Daimler
aims to have half of its
sales come from hybrid
or fully electric vehicles
7. Existing production
lines had to be adapted
to accommodate the EQC
8. Daimler’s EQ brand
signifi es its range of
electrifi ed vehicles
9. Electric LCVs are a big
part of Daimler’s strategy