Mercedes Commits To Combustion Engines

Tue 11th May 2021

The Chief Executive of one of the world’s biggest motor brands has made a bold commitment to petrol engines, despite what seems to be a race by manufacturers to move towards EVs.

Mercedes-Benz, who are part of the Daimler Group will continue to develop combustion engine models, but are likely to only maintain their existing petrol and diesel powertrain units.

“On the journey to zero-emission we will come to a point where the scaling changes, where electric drive becomes our dominant drive, and eventually you actually lose the scale on combustion,” Daimler’s CEO, Ola Kallenius told a Future of the Car Summit organised by the Financial Times.

"It is good, then, that from an asset point of view, the cash investment lies in the past. You can, in an economical way, use those assets as long as the market carries it and it makes sense.”

Speaking at the event, Kallenius suggested that there may some longevity left in ICE engines for Mercedes, particularly as the current range can be adapted for hybrid and electrical assistance models which can reduce emissions.

"That is why we have not artificially picked a point [for a full transition to electrification], but when a new technology takes over, you come to a point on that S-curve where the exponential growth becomes so fast that it happens on its own,” Kallenius said.

"When that point comes, we will be ready, and we will not hesitate for nostalgic reasons to switch over to the new technology 100%."

While Daimler’s partnership with Geely will see them pursue an electric-only future for the Smart Car urban car, a similar partnership for Mercedes will see them partner with Geely to produce a range of entry level cars for Volvo. 

"With Geely, we have a very good partnership. The projects we do have a clear rationale: win-win. If both sides can win on an economical, timing and technical basis, we go for it."

Kallenius added: "The scaling effect of doing that together was smarter than doing it alone, especially in a decade of transformation when some of the volume gets shifted over to electrification only."