Daimler Makes $47 Billion Investment In All-Electric Future

Daimler AG CEO Ola Källenius poses with the company's growing family of electric cars, SUVs, and vans. (Daimler AG)

Daimler is the latest automaker to make a massive push for electric vehicles, confirming that it will shift to selling only EVs at the end of the decade.

The headline numbers are eye-opening, with the company saying it will spend around $47 billion on its EV plans, which include installing over a half-million charging stations under a Mercedes Me Charge plan. Furthermore, future Mercedes EVs could be capable of traveling over 1,000 kilometers (621 miles) on a full charge, which is the range the company is targeting for the Vision EQXX vehicle it is currently developing.

There is one caveat, however. Daimler is hedging a bit by saying it will only go all-electric “where market conditions allow.”

Even with that disclaimer, Daimler’s ambitions stand out in an increasingly crowded EV future. The important starting point for the automaker’s next generation EVs will be three new electric-only vehicle architectures. This plan means every Mercedes model will have an all-electric option, starting in 2025. Mercedes also says it will be able to conduct this “accelerated transformation while sticking to its profitability targets.”

One way Mercedes will accomplish this goal is by building, with partners, eight new battery “gigafactories.” These massive battery production plants will have a battery cell capacity of more than 200 Gigawatt hours. A key ingredient in these batteries will be the new partnerships Daimler is forming to develop and produce the cells in Europe. Daimler previously announced that it is planning a network of nine plants that will build battery systems.

There’s a case to be made that Daimler announced its big EV mission change after paying attention to moves made by rivals like Volvo, according to a statement by Daimler AG and Mercedes-Benz AG CEO Ola Källenius. “The EV shift is picking up speed – especially in the luxury segment, where Mercedes-Benz belongs,” he said. “The tipping point is getting closer and we will be ready as markets switch to electric-only by the end of this decade.“

For car shoppers, the important details are the three EV platforms. The scalable MB.EA platform will be used for medium and large passenger vehicles, while AMG.EA is intended for performance electric vehicles. Finally, VAN.EA will, as the name implies, be used for vans and light commercial vehicles.

Daimler said its next-generation batteries will be standardized and therefore usable in over 90 percent of all Mercedes-Benz cars and vans. These new batteries will also allow Mercedes to offer range improvements for a particular model during its production lifecycle.

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