Daimler meets EU CO2 targets in 2020 by tripling ‘xEV’ sales
German carmaker Daimler is confident it will meet the European CO2 targets set for 2020 by tripling car sales of its Mercedes brand’s ‘xEVs’, plug-in hybrids (PHEV), and battery-electric cars (BEV) combined. On a total passenger car sales of 2,1 million (-7,5%), Mercedes-Benz Cars sold 160 000 xEV worldwide, an 228,8% increase.
“Our internal forecasts for 2020 indicate that we will have achieved the European CO2 targets for passenger cars last year. Based on our current knowledge, we expect to meet the CO2 targets in Europe again in 2021,” says the man behind the wheel at Daimler, Ola Källenius. And this comes somewhat as a surprise as analysts feared that Daimler wouldn’t make it a few months ago.
Ramp-up in Q4
Actually, it was the fourth quarter with a tremendous ramp-up in what they call ‘xEVs’ that saved Mercedes’ skin. Government incentives in France and Germany did the trick. Of the total of 160 000, more than half (87 000) xEVs were sold after summer. It increased the xEV share from 2% in 2019 to 7,4% last year.
Based on figures of half 2020, according to NGO Transport & Environment, Daimler still had to bridge a gap of 9 g/km to get the 95 g/km targets set by the EU to avoid monster fines.
Out of the danger zone
Daimler, which is still selling many high-performance premium cars and heavy SUVs, sat clearly in the danger zone. Accompanied by Jaguar Land Rover that was also limping behind with an even bigger problem of 13 g/km, despite its effort with PHEV versions of its bestsellers and the full-electric i-Pace.
Time for action, they thought in Stuttgart, and started restructuring and intensifying the electrification of the entire portfolio. And with a little help from Angela Merkel’s government, introducing an incentive program for EV sales after summer, it worked.
BEVs increased by 206% in Germany
Despite an overall regression in new car sales of 20% in Germany, alternative drive systems (battery-electric, fuel-cell, plug-in hybrids, and gas) took up a quarter of all new registrations in 2020.
A total of 394 940 electric-powered cars were sold, with all-electric cars (194 163) seeing an increase of 206%, according to the KBA (Kraftfahrt-Bundesamt), the German Federal Motor Transport Authority.
Mercedes-Benz saw its sales of PHEVs almost quadruple, with more than 115 000 sold. The PHEV versions of the E-Class, A-Class, and C-Class were in demand the most. Shortly after the introduction of the premiums, the plug-in A-Class sold out at a given time. Not surprising, as the price of the A250-e with the premium deducted, dropped below that of the gasoline A180.
In the field of all-electric cars, the Mercedes EQC accounted for sales of approximately 20 000 units, the EQV for 1 700, and the electric Smart topped at 27 000 units. The latter nearly doubled its figures (+45,6%) compared to the year before. In 2021, four new all-electric models will be introduced: the EQA, EQB, EQE, and EQS.
Q4 benefits competition too
Mercedes’ main competitor in Germany, BMW, already achieved its goals in July of last year, before the actual boom in Q4 in Germany. According to T&E’s analysis, PSA, Volvo, and Tesla-FCA have achieved their 2020 targets also in summer already. For FCA, this was entirely due to ‘buying’ credits from Tesla. Otherwise, it had trailed by 17 g/km at that time.
Volkswagen says it is likely to ‘come close’ to meeting the targets. It looks like VW’s effort to gear up in electrification starting with the ID.3 is bearing fruit in its home country. It’s leading the pack with a share of 17,4% of electric-powered cars registered in 2020, an increase of 608,6%. Next comes Mercedes-Benz with a 14,9% share (+499,8%), Audi with 9,0% (+607,9%), and BMW and Renault with 8,6% each.