Mercedes-Benz has announced that it will invest €40 billion across the next eight years into EV development and halt ICE platform development in 2025, during which it will field electric versions of its entire fleet. Mercedes’ announcement also includes developmental strategies for its three BEV platforms.
Now that the big EV era has officially begun, large automakers are investing an increasing amount of funding into releasing an increasing number of BEV models one after another, whereas small automakers, on the other hand, are sharing costs through partnerships and alliances. Hot on the heels of Volkswagen, GE, and Ford, Mercedes has now joined this money-burning battlefield.
As far as Mercedes’ aforementioned plan goes, the relatively more realistic aspects are as follows. The automaker currently offers three BEV models, one of which is the EQC, based on GLC’s chassis. The second BEV on offer is the EQA, which is based on GLA’s chassis. The last of these is the EQV, based on the V-series’ chassis.
These “ICE-turned-EV” models must accommodate for engine architectures that are relics from their previous life as ICE vehicles, with the drawback being inferior driving ranges and internal volumes compared to vehicles designed from the ground-up as EVs. Hence, many are looking forward to Mercedes vehicles based on a BEV architecture, including flagship sedans EQS/EQE as well as the compact electric van EQT. The official release of these three models is sure to raise Mercedes’ profile by a not insignificant amount.
Understanding that BEV architectures are the future of cars, Mercedes announced the release of four brand-new BEV models in 2021, with a new SUV model, based on the same chassis as the EQS/EQE, to come next year. In light of this announcement, the share of BEV/PHEV models in Mercedes’ forecasted sales for 2025 has now been revised to 50%, up from the previous forecast of 25%.
Although EVs have more than their fair share of detractors, ongoing strategies by major automakers would suggest that the pace of automotive electrification is, in actual fact, picking up, and that means many market intelligence firms may have to revise their predictions three years from now. For further proof, look no further than Mercedes’ announcement that it will stop developing ICE platforms in 2025 and instead opt for three brand-new BEV platforms.
The three new platforms include Mercedes’ high-performance subsidiary AMG, the EV version of which is now called AMG.EA and is expected to become the high-performance EV subsidiary of Mercedes. The second platform, which is slightly easier to comprehend, is VAN.EA, set to become Mercedes’ subsidiary based on battery-powered minivan and commercial van platforms.
The last of these new platforms are called MB.EA, which is a BEV architecture built specifically for medium and large vehicles and is meant to replace the prior MRA RWD ICE platform (C-Class, E-Class, and S-Class) as well as the current EVA EV platform (EQS/EQE). The MB.EA much resembles an open architecture, at least in concept, as it allows multiple vehicle models to be developed from a single platform. Given the number of vehicle platforms that the MB.EA is set to replace, it appears primed to be the next core architecture around which Mercedes’ future EV sales will revolve.
These three BEV architectures, in addition to the previously unveiled medium and small EV architecture MMA, will be released in 2024. In sum, Mercedes will have four EV architectures in 2025 covering the automakers’ entire range of vehicles. Although Mercedes will not terminate its sale of ICE cars just yet, customers will be able to choose from BEV versions of the automakers’ entire lineup four years from now.
▲ Comparison between ICE models and equivalent EV models in Mercedes’ automotive lineup in the future (Source: TechNews)
Hot on the heels of the EU’s expectation to accelerate its zero-emission goal, the US has also been adopting EVs on a large scale under Biden’s leadership. Not only is Mercedes accelerating the electrification of its fleet, but it is also planning to build eight battery factories around the globe, in addition to be carbon-neutral in 2022 across the entire manufacturing processes of its fleet and batteries. This will likely be a great boon to the carbon reduction efforts of the automotive industry at large while being in accordance with policy goals.