DAIMLER ELECTRIC CAR STRATEGY
Daimler, one of the early investors in Tesla has been credited by Elon Musk that it saved Tesla from bankruptcy in 2009 when it invested $50 million for a 9% stake in the electric vehicle manufacturer.
Daimler has for years been developing from an automobile manufacturer into a mobility provider. The focus is no longer solely on the car as a product, but also on services related to mobility. Electric- and plug-in vehicles, for example, include an MB Wallbox installation service, and also exclusive Mercedes me connect functions. Another aspect of the corporate strategy is to offer new, innovative services for flexible and networked mobility. Moovel provides the fastest connection between two places, taking all means of transport into consideration.
Daimler has a very progressive EV strategy, creating an EV specific brand in China and Internationally, Denza and EQ. The Group plans to invest over $11 billion in the sector by 2022. Read more on the Daimler EV strategy in our blog post – Daimler EV strategy trumps BMW.
DAIMLER ELECTRIC CAR BRANDS
Click through to explore the various Daimler EV brands to see how Daimler implements its electric car strategy.
THE DAIMLER ELECTRIC CAR STRATEGY IN THE NEWS
Week 23 2018 - Daimler has largest range of electric commercial vehicles
Daimler unveiled two more electric trucks for the North Amercian market during its Capital Markets and Technology Days in Oregon this week, claiming that it now has the largest selection of electric delivery vehicles. Maybe now is to strong a word since these models will all only be available in volume form 2021. The company will test 30 of its new Freightliner eCascadia Semi and Freightlines eM2 106 medium delivery trucks over the next year. Follow the links below to see how Daimler will come head to head with the Tesla Semi.
With the two eFreightliners, the Mercedes-Benz eActros, the light FUSO eCanter, the fully-electric Mercedes-Benz Citaro city bus and the Thomas Built Saf-T Liner C2 Jouley school bus, Daimler Trucks & Buses already has the broadest portfolio of fully-electric commercial vehicles to be found anywhere.
In related news, the Chinese owned FDG Electric Vehicles based in California and Ryder announced that Ryder reserved 500 of FDG’s V8070 medium-duty panel vans. The V8070 has a 100-mile range with a 6,000lbs payload, 16.4 cubic meters of cargo space and 7.2kW onboard charger. Ryder will include the V8070 in its ChoiceLease and SelectCare fleet maintenance offerings.
Week 9 2018 - Confusion and Concern after Geely buys Daimler share
The Chinese auto sector is getting ever confusing after this weeks announcement that Geely‘s owner Li Shufu, one of China’s top 10 billionaires, amassed a 10% stake in Daimler, making him the single largest shareholder in one of Germany’s crown jewels. The transaction comes shortly after Daimler’s approval to acquire around 5% in Geely competitor BAIC BJEV, Daimlers partner to develop electric vehicles in China. Daimler is also a JV shareholder with BYD in the EV manufacturer Denza. Geely already owns Volvo which competes with Mercedes on passenger vehicles and trucks. The reasoning behind the acquisition in Daimler by Li Shufu is to force an alliance on the development of electric and self-driving vehicles and to gain access to Daimler’s technology. The acquisition by Geely in Daimler could very well put pressure on the German company’s partnership with BAIC. Volvo Trucks dropped the chief executive of Geely’s Volvo Cars from its board within a day from the announcement. The Swedish truckmaker cites competition concerns with rival Daimler as the reason behind the decision.
Germany tightened its rules on foreign takeovers after a series of deals by Chinese company’s gaining them access to German technology. The string of transactions is in an environment where Chinese companies are becoming increasingly confident and assertive while western companies are prohibited from acquiring controlling ownership of Chinese rivals. The stealth transaction by Li Shufu, the son of a farmer, is under investigation as he surprised the market due to not disclosing breaching the 3 and 5% thresholds as required by German law.
The transaction is highlighting concerns by the West that China is gaining access to proprietary technical know-how, which has up to now been one of the regions aces in international trade. The trend is not just limited to auto companies, Chinese tech giant Tencent acquired a 5% stake in Tesla in 2017 while at the same time investing in electric and autonomous technologies through investments in NIO and Weima. Although the Tencent shareholding does not allow the company direct access to Tesla’s IP, it still provides the company access to Tesla’s strategy and business decisions. Tencent also partnered with GAC recently on the development of self-driving technology. Another Chinese auto company that bought into western technology is SAIC which acquired British icon MG.
Week 7 2018 - Daimler acquire stake in BAIC
Week 43 2017 - New EV truck brand by Daimler E Fuso
Daimler Trucks subsidiary Mitsubishi Fuso Truck and Bus Corporation (MFTBC) this week launched a dedicated brand for its electrified range of trucks and buses at the Tokyo Auto Show. The unveiling of the new brand, E-Fuso, was accompanied by the world premiere of the all-electric heavy duty truck E-Fuso Vision One with a range of 218 miles (350km). The Vision One follows the launch of the production version of the Fuso eCanter light duty truck a month ago. Marc Llistosella, President and CEO of Mitsubishi Fuso Truck and Bus Corporation and Head of Daimler Trucks Asia claims the eCanter can save up to 1000 Euros in running costs per 10,000 km.
Week 42 2017 - Daimler unveils autonomous snow plow
Daimler this week demonstrated the use of automated snow removal at the former Pferdsfeld airbase with four Mercedes Benz Arcs tractors. The demonstration builds on the automakers innovative Highway Pilot and Highway Pilot Connect systems presented earlier the year which allows for truck platooning. Clearing snow at airfields is a high precision task and a perfect application for autonomous driving. The development of the “Automated Airfield Ground Maintenance“ (AAGM) project was established in close cooperation between Lab1886, the Daimler innovation incubator, Daimler Trucks and Fraport AG, which operates one of the largest air traffic hubs in the world. The AAGM is guided by Daimler’s corporate strategy named CASE – connectivity (Connected), autonomous driving (Autonomous), flexible use (Shared & Services) and electric powertrains (Electric).
Week 39 2017 - Daimler may increase cash in loss-making Denza
In the wake of Tuesday’s announcement by an official of the Chinese Commerce Ministry that the country might give automakers a year extension to get their houses in order before implementing its aggressive push towards electrification, Automotive News China reported that Daimler is mulling an increase in its investment in its partnership with BYD. BYD and Daimler created a JV company, Denza, exclusively focusing on the manufacture of electric vehicles currently only produce one model, also named Denza. BYD called for an increase in investment to help the loss-making JV take advantage of the expected increase in EV sales over the next three years. It would be interesting to see if Daimler will increase its investment after reports on Wednesday indicated that a possibility exists that the Government will allow wholly-owned subsidiaries of foreign companies to operate in China. Up to know foreign carmakers were forced to operate in through JV’s such as Denza.
Week 35 2017 - Daimler unveils self-driving EQ ForTwo
Mercedes-Benz announced the creation of its new EV specific brand, EQ, at the Frankfurt Auto Show in September 2016. This week the luxury carmaker showed us more of its Vision EQ by unveiling the Smart Vision EQ ForTwo in the week running up to the Frankfurt Auto Show. According to the company, the Smart EQ provides a new vision of urban mobility where individualization options make the shared vehicle feel like “your” vehicle. The Smart EQ is the first vehicle from the Daimler Group to take the logical step of dispensing with a steering wheel and pedals. The Smart EQ is developed according to the German automaker’s CASE strategy which stands for the strategic pillars of connectivity (Connected), autonomous driving (Autonomous), flexible use (Shared & Services) and electric drive systems (Electric). EQ plans to introduce more than ten new electric cars by 2022, from the Smart up to a large SUV.
The Smart EQ has a battery capacity of 30kWh, nearly double that of the 2017 Smart ForTwo ED. The vehicle functions are controlled via personal mobile device or voice input, an arrangement that is intuitive, convenient and hygienic. Dispensing with conventional control elements makes the white interior appear even more spacious. The dashboard is replaced by a 24-inch (58.5 x 15.6 cm) screen which is surrounded by a rose gold-colored frame.
Daimler will also unveil the Mercedes Concept EQA teased above at the Frankfurt Auto Show.
Week 29 2017 - Daimler and Chery resolve trademark dispute
Mercedes Benz and Chery Automotive reached an agreement in the trademark dispute lodged (EV News Week 12) by Chery in March 2017. According to a joint press release, the companies agreed to the following settlement with regards to using the EQ designation for electric vehicles in China:
Chery will focus on using the designations eQ and eQ1, as well as further numerical continuations thereof, while Daimler will focus on use in their electric Mercedes-Benz products with the designations EQC and any other alphabetical supplements. Daimler will use the EQ Power designation for Plug-In Hybrids and meanwhile Chery will also use eQ TEC to nominate their car electrification system.
Chery has already been using the eQ and eQ1 brand names in China since year 2014 and Daimler has now also granted them the possibility to use this name family in countries outside of China. Daimler established the EQ brand family for electrically driven Mercedes-Benz vehicles almost simultaneously in countries outside of China and Chery has granted the company the possibility to also use this in China now.
Week 27 2017 - Daimler and BAIC deepens co-operation around EVs
Daimler and Chinese BAIC Motors this week agreed to increase the investment in the Sino-German Joint Venture, Beijing Benz Automotive Co (BBAC), to manufacture electric vehicles. The partners agreed to a further investment of 5 billion yuan (655 million euros / $735 million) at a signing of the heads of agreement in Berlin in the presence of German Chancellor Dr. Angela Merkel and Chinese President Xi Jinping. The investment by the German automaker is a further commitment to electric vehicles as it implements the aggressive electric vehicle strategy. BBAC is the localization of the Mercedes-Benz brand and will see its first electric vehicle rolling off the production line in 2020.
In June 2017 both partners agreed to strengthen their strategic collaboration through investments for New Energy Vehicles (NEVs) in China. As part of the investment agreement, Daimler announced its intention to acquire a minority share in Beijing Electric Vehicle Co., Ltd. (BJEV), a subsidiary of the BAIC Group, with the purpose of strengthening strategic collaboration with BAIC in the NEV sector.
The investment will be used to extend the BBAC plant in Beijing, established in 2005 and already Daimler’s largest Mercedes-Benz passenger car production hub, to become a BEV production hub in China. The establishment of a BEV production hub will commence with the building of an eBattery factory, which would be Daimler’s first foreign location of its global battery production network. Daimler plans to invest one of the ten billion euro earmarked for its electric vehicle strategy in the global battery production network for Mercedes-Benz vehicles. The network already includes the site in Kamenz, Saxony, built in 2010, where a second state of the art battery factory is being built with an investment of around 500 million euros. Mercedes-Benz will source the cell for its battery plant in Beijing from Chinese suppliers.
Week 13 2017 - Daimler accelerates it electric vehicle program
Daimler this week, after a board meeting in Berlin, announced that it would accelerate its $11 billion investment in electric vehicles by bringing it forward with three years from 2025, as announced last year to 2022. Reuters reported that the automaker’s aggressive stance are the result of it not being able to cut fleet emissions of 123gm CO2/km from 2015 to 2016 in Europe. Europe has set a very stringent target of 95gm CO2/km by 2020. Daimler’s own target for 2020 is 100gm CO2. The German automaker cites the popularity of SUV’s as the reason for it not cutting its emissions for the first time since 2007.
Week 5 2017 - Daimler and Uber to co-operate on self-driving cars
Daimler and Uber announced a cooperation agreement where Daimler will introduce and operate self-driving cars on the Uber network. Uber abandoned efforts to build its own vehicle early on, rather focusing on partnering and acquiring technologies to achieve its goal of a self-driving fleet for its network. Uber acquired autonomous trucking company Otto in 2016 and made a successful delivery of a consignment of beer before being blocked by the California DMV.
Week 48 2016 - Daimler to invest $11Bln in electric vehicles
Reuters reported that Daimler plans to invest $11Bln in electric vehicle research and development. Daimler’s Research & Development Head, Thomas Weber was quoted in telling the German publication, Stuttgarter Zeitung that “By 2025 we want to develop ten electric cars based on the same architecture,”. The automaker targets increasing cruising ranges above 700km (430 miles).
Week 29 2016 - Daimler sees EVs expanding
The electric vehicles market gained further traction as Daimler’s CEO, Dieter Zetsche acknowledged the technology’s importance and expected an increase in market share. The German automaker shifted its strategy to accelerate its efforts to stay abreast of its competitors, Tesla and BMW‘s push to ramp up production in the luxury electric vehicle segment.
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China’s 2018 batch of new EV models have some surprisingly good cars threatening Western automakers still grappling how to catch-up to the increased popularity of EVs. While big auto plans to bring new models to market in 2020 China is already pushing out large amounts of new EV models.