Convinced that the market is ready for plug-ins, Daimler invests 7 billion euros

Mercedes-Benz Electric Mobility

Daimler has cranked up the voltage several notches with a series of EV-related announcements. The German auto giant plans to invest €7 billion ($7.9 billion) in green tech R&D over the next two years.

Mercedes’ seventh and eighth PHEV models, the GLC Coupé 350 e 4MATIC and the E 350 e, are to arrive in showrooms this year.

In the pipeline is a Mercedes-Benz fuel cell vehicle with plug-in technology, to be called the GLC F-CELL.

Mercedes is developing a dedicated, multi-model architecture for battery EVs, featuring battery packs from Daimler subsidiary Deutsche ACCUMOTIVE that are expected to deliver ranges of up to 311 miles.

Meanwhile, the fourth generation of the electric smart, now available in three EV models, will make its debut at the Paris Motor Show in September, and will be launched in the US by the end of this year.

“No other manufacturer offers a comparable range of electrified vehicles and solutions in the field of electric mobility,” said Daimler Board Member Dr. Thomas Weber. “The spectrum ranges from the smart city runabout and Mercedes-Benz passenger cars to buses, coaches, and trucks of the Fuso brand. We will electrify all Mercedes-Benz passenger car model series step by step.”

Dr. Weber expects to see dramatic improvements in battery tech. “With the introduction of the post-lithium-ion technology, of which the lithium-sulfur systems are currently the most promising, we will have an entirely different playing field in the next decade.”

“We are investing heavily in electromobility, and we are convinced that the market is now ready,” says Dr. Weber.

 

Source: Daimler via Green Car Congress

  • WQ @ CeeTech Inc.

    This is a smart move, Benz!

    • Michael B

      Except for the F-CELL part of it, which more likely than not will be a waste of time, money, skill and effort.

      • JTM

        I agree. Fuels cells, like petrol and diesel represent stupid energy pathways, in the modern era. Using electricity to produce hydrogen (just a low density transient energy storage medium) and then highly compress it, and then to transport it (dangerous!) across a huge and expensive distribution infrastructure, before decanting it again into a complicated and heavier than necessary FCEV!!!! Much more sense to take the electricity straight from the already in place distribution infrastructure – the grid – which of itself continues to get cleaner and cleaner.

      • Jim Fox

        Well, who can tell the future- all options should be kept open in case of a revolutionary breakthrough… even at a low level of investment.

        • Michael B

          We should add a small budget for teleportation and holodecks then, too. 😀

          • Jim Fox

            “all REALISTIC options”… my bad, your silliness.

  • Electric Bill

    So glad to see the continuing series of announcements from Daimler, but winced when reading that someone there does, not have the good, sense to steer clear of FCs. Fifty years ago, the various car companies started telling us they would have fuel cells in 20 years… it was always 20 years away for them, but in fact not really due until next Septober or Octember… and we don’t have any scheduled on my calendar.

    Beyond the factors JTM mentioned, there are actually DOZENS of very solid reasons FCs will never be practical for ground transportation. Just a few:

    Hydrogen is far tinier than any other atom on the Periodic Table of Elements… with the sole exception of Unobtanium there is no vessel you can concoct that can hold compressed hydrogen for very long… any material… steel, aluminum, composites… Hydrogen eventually leaks out slowly, as any material is slightly porous to the tiny atoms, especially when not stored at cryogenic temperatures.

    This means that you should not fuel up several days ahead of when you plan to use it, because you will no longer have a full tank.

    Hydrogen is the lightest of elements; for this reason, if it leaks out in an appropriate space such as a garage with vents near the ceiling or roof, the gas will escape. But hydrogen is colorless, tasteless and burns with an invisible, colorless flame… should someone enter a space saturated with hydrogen gas could inadvertently set off any kind of ignition such as flipping a light switch, they could have a violent explosion.

    In an open space, if there was a rapid rupture of compressed hydrogen, it would be much cooler than at room temperature and would not rise as it otherwise would, making an explosion much more possible.

    Hydrogen is very volatile in the sense that it makes many materials brittle and weak.

    The Hindenburg Effect: Hydrogen dirigible were becoming quite popular eight decades ago. Then suddenly in a single day in May, 1937, all that stopped when the Hindenburg blew up in, New Jersey. If by some wicked miracle hydrogen did become popularized, the very first time a soccer mom is topping off at a hydrogen filling station and a semi lost control, slamming into her and her kiddies in the car… incinerating all of them… it would bring a Hydrogen future to a screeching halt.

    I have only scratched the surface… there are many other serious problems with FCs that EVs do not share.

    There is only ONE advantage to hydrogen vehicles: those companies selling FCs would, have a direct tie to their customers that leaves them reliant on the fuel producer, similar to how ICE cars are totally reliant on OPEC and other petrol suppliers. Of course, this is only an advantage to the suppliers, not its customers. EV drivers are tied to no one in particular–they can harvest electrons anywhere there is a solar panel available.

    • JTM

      I try to keep an open mind about any clean alternative fuel. Hydrogen may perhaps have some role, but to see it as superior to straight EV is ridiculous. There is a saying in the automotive industry. “Hydrogen always was the future, always has been the future, and always will be the future”. I think it is more of a ‘red herring’ used by oil companies, because while people continue to think that there is a suitable alternative to fossil fuels they delay moving to the technology that is already with us and proven – battery electric vehicles. The Tesla Model S has more power than any FCEV, more range than any FCEV, is easier to ‘refuel’ than any FCEV, cheaper to ‘refuel’ than any FCEV, and cleaner. Oh and you can probably purchase a Tesla Model S for much less than either the Toyota Miari or Honda FCX Clarity FCEV.