On the road to locally emission-free driving, Daimler is continuing to pursue a three-lane drive system strategy involving electric vehicles, hybrid models and combustion engines.
The company is taking a holistic approach to electrification under the new EQ technology and product brand. In addition to developing a modular family of vehicles, there will be a comprehensive ecosystem that includes the required charging infrastructure.
“All systems are go. We are investing more than ten billion euros in the development of our EQ vehicle portfolio alone,” says Ola Källenius who has been responsible for Daimler Group Research and Mercedes-Benz Cars Development since the start of the year. “By 2022 we will be bringing more than ten different all-electric vehicles to market. We will also be electrifying the entire Mercedes‑Benz portfolio and our customers will thus have the choice of at least one electric alternative in every Mercedes‑Benz model series, taking the total to 50 overall.”
When it comes to the future of mobility, Daimler is relying on different technologies continuing to coexist. These are optimally tailored to the particular customer needs and vehicle models. Ola Källenius: “We are placing our emphasis on highly efficient high-tech combustion engines, systematic hybridisation and battery-electric or fuel-cell drive systems. Our approach is deliberately broad in view of our extensive vehicle portfolio and our customers’ mobility requirements.”
Electric pioneer Mercedes-Benz builds on CO2-free mobility
The smart fortwo electric drive made Daimler the first manufacturer to offer a series-produced electric vehicle back in 2007. Today, the fourth generation of the smart electric drive is making entry into the world of electromobility more appealing than ever. Following on from the smart fortwo coupé and smart forfour (combined electrical consumption: 12.9/13.1 kWh/100 km; combined CO2 emissions: 0 g/km), the smart fortwo cabrio with battery-electric drive (combined electrical consumption: 13.0 kWh/100 km) made its début in summer 2017. Now smart is planning to be the first automotive brand to systematically transition from the combustion engine to the electric drive system. From 2020 the company plans to exclusively sell smart models with battery-electric drive in Europe and the USA.
The smart vision EQ fortwo design study offers a glimpse into the more distant future. It illustrates a new solution for individualised, highly flexible and highly efficient local public transport. Autonomous and electric-powered, the smart vision EQ presents a consistent concept for the future of urban mobility and the future of car sharing.
Mercedes-Benz is pursuing a holistic approach to powertrain electrification. The company is also developing the EQ brand into a holistic ecosystem which, alongside the electric family of vehicles itself, also comprises a comprehensive electromobility offering. This extends from intelligent services and energy storage units for private and commercial customers to charging technologies and sustainable recycling.
One important step is the development of a multi-model electric vehicle architecture for battery-powered vehicles. The first series-produced model from the new EQ product brand, the EQC, is set to be produced at the Mercedes-Benz plant in Bremen from 2019.
With the Concept EQA at the IAA International Motor Show in Frankfurt, Mercedes-Benz demonstrated how the EQ strategy can be translated to the compact class. Featuring one electric motor on the front axle and one at the rear, this electric athlete has a system output of over 200 kW. The drive characteristics can be altered by varying the permanent all-wheel drive’s front to rear torque distribution. The Concept EQA shows which drive program has been selected on a unique virtual radiator grille.
With the GLC F-CELL pre-production vehicles, Daimler is also sending out a clear signal regarding the future of fuel cell technology. The vehicles unveiled at the IAA represent a world first in which a fuel-cell-operated electric car uses a lithium-ion battery as an additional energy source. This can be externally charged by means of plug-in technology. Through intelligent interplay, the two energy sources drive the electric motor while offering driving pleasure with zero local emissions. Other advantages of these family-friendly electric vehicles of high everyday practicality are the long range, short refuelling times, an output of 147 kW (200 hp) and the latest generation of assistance systems with drive-specific features.
For commercial vehicles too, in future there will be locally emission-free electric drive systems available in all segments: the FUSO eCanter for light-duty distribution haulage in Europe, Asia and America and the electric Mercedes-Benz truck for heavy-duty distribution haulage. In the USA, Daimler Trucks North America is working on an electric Freightliner eCascadia for long-distance haulage. In 2018 the first battery-electric city bus will enter series production.
Mercedes-Benz Vans is developing fully electrically powered Vito and Sprinter model series vans. Their first partner is already confirmed in the shape of logistics company Hermes.
The extensive range of plug-in hybrids is further expanded
Plug-in hybrids represent a key technology on the road to a locally emission-free future for the motor vehicle. This is because they offer customers the best of both worlds; in the city they can drive in fully electric mode, while on long journeys they benefit from the combustion engine’s range. To underline the important role of hybrids in the process of electrifying the car, the plug-in models from Mercedes-Benz will, in future, bear the EQ Power technology badge.
Because the strengths of plug-in hybrids come to the fore in larger vehicles and on mixed route profiles, Mercedes-Benz is opting for this powertrain concept from the C-Class upwards. The strategic hybrid initiative is decisively facilitated by Mercedes-Benz’s intelligent, modular hybrid concept: designed to be scalable, it can be transferred to a large number of model series and body styles as well as left and right-hand-drive variants.
Following the C 350 e (saloon, estate and long-wheelbase version for the Chinese market), GLE 500 e 4MATIC, GLC 350 e 4MATIC, GLC Coupé 350 e 4MATIC and E 350 e, the new S 560 e, and successor to the S 500 e, is already the eighth plug-in model that Mercedes-Benz is bringing to market.
The hybrid drive system in the S 560 e combines the 270 kW (367 hp) of the V6 petrol engine with an electric output of 90 kW. The third-generation hybrid transmission evolved on the basis of the 9G-TRONIC PLUS automatic transmission. The torque converter, clutch and electric motor are housed in the innovative hybrid drive unit. The compact design was achieved by integrating and connecting the separating clutch, torsional vibration damper and torque converter lockup clutch within the rotor of the electric motor. The torque converter with its powerful and highly efficient hydraulic circuit offers the customary smoothness when pulling away in hybrid mode.
In addition, the Citaro hybrid sees Mercedes-Benz opening a new chapter in drive systems for city buses. For the first time worldwide, hybrid technology is available as special equipment for an extraordinarily broad range of city buses with diesel and petrol engines rather than for distinct models. In this way, numerous models benefit from the advantages. In conjunction with the equally new electrohydraulic steering system, the Citaro hybrid’s drive system reduces the fuel consumption of a bus already known for its efficiency by up to a further 8.5 percent depending on the application and vehicle specification.
The mobility of the future will be more flexible and more connected
For years, Daimler has been evolving from an automotive manufacturer into a mobility provider. In the first half of 2017, the number of customers worldwide using digital mobility services such as car2go (global market leader in free-floating car sharing), mytaxi (European market leader) or moovel more than doubled. There are 15 million customers registered to use Daimler mobility services in more than 100 cities across Europe, North America and China.
This is also down to Daimler implementing its CASE strategy on a successive basis. The four letters represent the mobility themes of the future: Connected, Autonomous, Shared & Services and Electric. Shared & Services encompasses all mobility services from Daimler Financial Services – from car sharing (car2go) and ride hailing (mytaxi) to mobility platforms (moovel). Since late 2016 Daimler has also been providing private car sharing through Croove – irrespective of vehicle brand and going beyond car2go.
Mercedes me provides digital access to the world of Mercedes-Benz. Customers can use the portal to access services, products and lifestyle offerings from Mercedes-Benz, Daimler and cooperation partners. Once registered, Mercedes-Benz drivers have access to personalised content – as well as to their own vehicle. Anyone who owns an electric or plug-in Mercedes-Benz vehicle can use Mercedes me connect’s exclusive functionality: With the standard Remote Online function, customers are able to conveniently view the charge level, range and nearest charging station on their smartphone.
Intelligently networked charging solutions form an integral part of the Mercedes-Benz Cars electromobility initiative, as customer acceptance of electric mobility is closely associated with the availability of a comprehensive infrastructure. Whether at home via a wallbox charging system, while shopping, at work or on the street, the possibilities for powering electric vehicles are already very diverse nowadays. From 2018, direct current charging based on the CCS (Combined Charging System) standard will gradually find its way into the electric vehicles from Mercedes-Benz. Daimler has a broad range of collaborative partnerships in this area.
Daimler AG is planning a joint venture to establish an ultra-fast, high-performance charging network with power levels up to 350 kW along major traffic routes in Europe in conjunction with the BMW Group, the Ford Motor Company and the Volkswagen Group with Audi and Porsche. Construction starts in 2017 and initially approximately 400 sites are planned in Europe.
Under the charge@Daimler project, the company is bringing together its activities to build up intelligent charging infrastructure at all its sites in Germany. Right now employees at Daimler locations in 24 German cities have access to extensive charging solutions. By the end of 2018 the network will extend to more than 2000 charging points.
In spring 2017 Daimler AG became lead investor in the US charging solution provider ChargePoint Inc. The aim of this strategic investment is to significantly expand the portfolio in the area of intelligent charging solutions and to provide customers with an all-embracing, premium electromobility service.
Worldwide from Saxony: global battery production network
In addition to its internal development and production expertise and its modular strategy for alternative powertrains, part of Daimler AG’s philosophy is to ensure that it has direct access to key components for electromobility.
Through its wholly owned subsidiary Accumotive, Daimler has extensive know-how when it comes to the development and production of highly complex drive batteries. In view of the planned electric vehicle initiative under the EQ product and technology banner, Daimler AG is forging ahead with a global battery manufacturing network with locations in Europe, Asia and North America. All in all, the company will be investing over one billion euros in global battery production with two factories in Kamenz, Saxony and further sites in Stuttgart-Untertürkheim, Beijing (China) and Tuscaloosa (USA). Analogous to vehicle production, the battery production network can react flexibly and efficiently to market demand. The various locations supply the local vehicle production facilities and are able to export if required.
Network of expertise: concentrated know-how
Daimler subsidiary NuCellSys is a global leader in the development of fuel cell systems and hydrogen storage systems for vehicle applications. Daimler got involved in a new line of business with stationary battery storage systems in 2015, and has opened up additional opportunities to grow outside the automotive sector.
The network of expertise also includes joint ventures, for example with Bosch for electric motors (EM-motive). Other joint ventures are intended to build up the hydrogen infrastructure (H2 Mobility GmbH) as well as to create a Europe-wide, rapid charging network. With a view to expanding an integrated ecosystem around electromobility, Daimler AG is also pursuing selected collaborative partnerships such as with charging solution provider ChargePoint.