Daimler to abandon PHEVs gradually
Daimler’s focus on battery-electric vehicles also has an impact on plug-in hybrids. The Stuttgart-based carmaker is no longer planning any new developments here. Others, like car industry supplier ZF, however, see another and longer future for PHEVs.
So, the plan is to sell only purely electrically powered cars under the Mercedes-Benz brand by the end of the decade/ This means that not only the pure combustion-engined cars (ICE) but also the partially electrified cars (hybrids) have a fixed end date.
Markus Schäfer, Daimler board member responsible for research and development, now indicated at the IAA Mobility in Munich that there will be no further development of the hybrid technology.
“No further new developments are planned,” Schäfer said at the show. “The investments have been made; to that extent, we are using them.” So, new hybrid powertrains that go beyond the electric ranges of the current models will not arrive anymore. Schäfer sees the complexity of two powertrains in one vehicle as “a cost burden for the vehicle”.
Mercedes has recently accelerated its shift to electric mobility and will introduce only purely electric vehicle platforms from 2025.
Not fast enough?
Meanwhile, NGOs like Greenpeace and Deutsche Umwelthilfe want jurisdictional action against the German ‘big three’ (BMW, Daimler, and Volkswagen) because they are dragging their feet in climate action.
“The environmental organizations are in fact overfocused on this end date,” said Daimler CEO Ola Källenius in an interview with the newspaper De Tijd. “The question is how one creates the right circumstances to move on (to new technologies), not when you build your last specimen of an outpaced technology.”
“We will be ready by 2025; the questions will be if the charging infrastructure will follow and if the energy transition will be ready to deliver renewable electricity for all.”
“We are the biggest producer of luxury cars in the world and sell in more than 150 countries. Some markets aren’t as far developed as, for example, Sweden or Germany. Are we going to deprive people over there of the mobility they want? The moment of complete electrification will soon come, the question if the last petrol or diesel car will roll off the lines in 2032 or 2033 is irrelevant, also from a CO2 emission standing point,” Källenius concludes.
Not all industry representatives see the end of PHEVs by the end of the decade. Wolf-Henning Scheider, CEO of the German supplier ZF, told Reuters at the IAA show that he expects PHEVs to play an important role in the electrification of individual mobility “well beyond 2030 in many parts of the world”.
Scheider is concluding this when he sees his own order book. That’s why he anticipates increasing purely electric ranges of more than 100 kilometers. But that doesn’t mean ZF is not working on the purely electric future.
At the IAA, the supplier also presents the ‘Modular eDrive Kit‘, a construction kit for purely electric drives. This is intended to cover numerous vehicle segments from compact cars to luxury models – and to be able to implement the right solution for the customer in half the development time.
The ZF kit includes electric motors, an inverter platform, various transmission layouts, and software systems. In concrete terms, the drives are to cover the power range from 75 to 400 kW with a torque between 350 and 540 Nm – depending on the customer’s requirements, focusing on maximum performance, costs, and efficiency.