Forget Tesla, automotive executives from Daimler and Volkswagen seemed to be saying in early September. The two companies announced major pushes into the electric car arena, suggesting that they’re ready to devote themselves to engine options that don’t involve fossil fuels.
Daimler’s Chief Executive Dieter Zetsche told investors in Sindelfingen, Germany, that Mercedes-Benz would have electric versions of all of its models by 2022. That would mean at least 50 electric Mercedes-Benz passenger cars in hybrid and fully electric variants. To accomplish that, Mercedes-Benz would convert its Smart City Car brand to being fully electric. Daimler is already tightening up its organization to account for the change in profit margin, since electric cars don’t represent as much profit as combustion-engine vehicles, according to Daimler officials.
Volkswagen, the world’s largest car company, said at the Frankfurt auto show that it aims to sell 3 million electric cars, or about a quarter of its total sales, by 2025.
At about the same time as these announcements, China was signaling plans to address its profound urban smog problem by eventually banning gasoline engines altogether.
Text by Dave Helms