Daimler is preparing for the end of combustion cars by the end of this decade, but is making the complete switch to electric drive dependent on demand. "The turning point is approaching, and we will be ready when the markets switch completely to electric cars by the end of the decade," said Ola Källenius, CEO of Daimler and Mercedes-Benz on Thursday. “We are accelerating from“ electric first ”to“ electric only. ”Mercedes-Benz Cars & Vans did not name a sales target for purely electric cars, but doubled the expected proportion of electrified vehicles - i.e. e-cars and plug-in hybrid models - for 2025 to 50 percent.

In addition, Daimler is now getting into the production of battery cells: Together with partners, eight gigafactories are to be set up worldwide, four of them in Europe with a new European partner that is to be announced soon. So far, the Swabians had relied on suppliers and abandoned their own production after their own cell factory remained lossy several years ago and was closed.

"Until recently, we expected the electric car market to develop moderately, but now we believe that customers will adapt more quickly," said Britta Seeger, Head of Sales. Mercedes is ready to become fully electric by 2030. "But nobody can predict when the last combustion engine will be built, that depends on the customer," she added. From 2025, three electric vehicle architectures for medium-sized and large cars, high-speed drives from the AMG brand and vans will come into production, Daimler said. With the takeover of the British electric motor specialist Yasa, ultra-high-performance drives are built. From 2025, new platforms would only be created purely electrically, i.e. without combustion technology. Daimler is not as committed to it as Volkswagen and Audi,who want to retire petrol and diesel engines by the early 1930s.

Car production in the factories should be CO2-neutral as early as 2022, which means that emissions that still occur will be offset by climate protection measures. Under the pressure of stricter climate protection regulations, all car manufacturers in Europe have accelerated their plans to switch to battery cars in recent months. The EU Commission has proposed that the CO2 emissions of new cars must be reduced by 55 percent by 2030, and from 2035 onwards, no more combustion cars should come onto the market. "Regulation is becoming stricter worldwide, but demand will be driven primarily by the fact that customers will see this as a superior technology," said Källenius.

Between 2022 and 2030, Daimler plans to invest more than 40 billion euros in battery vehicles. Investments in combustion cars and plug-in hybrids are expected to decrease by 80 percent by 2026 compared to 2019. Källenius confirmed the return targets of autumn 2020 despite the faster turnaround to initially even more unprofitable electric cars. Accordingly, in normal times, an operating margin in the low to mid single-digit percentage range should be achieved, in good times a double-digit margin.