In a rather surprising announcement, German automaker Daimler has revealed that it will be stopping its internal combustion engine development initiatives as part of its efforts to embrace electric vehicles.
The update was announced by Daimler development chief Markus Schaefer. According to a recent report from veteran German motoring magazine Auto Motor und Sport, Schaefer stated that Diamler’s primary focus will now be on electrification, particularly in the development of electric drives and batteries. The company’s resources being tapped for the development of internal combustion engines and transmission development will be reallocated.
The Daimler executive did not disclose the costs associated with the company’s decision to pursue electrification, though Schaefer remarked that the overall budget for research and development for EV technologies remains at a “high level.”
With this in mind, Daimler’s current generation of internal combustion engines, including the new inline six-cylinder engine for the E-Class, S-Class, and its SUVs, will likely be the last gas and diesel engines that the automaker will produce. The executive did state that the company’s outlook may still change, though for the meantime, the industry could be assured that Daimler will be focusing on electric vehicles instead of diesel and gasoline engines.
The implications of Daimler’s announcement are significant. The conglomerate, after all, includes long-haul truck maker Freightliner, which produces diesel-powered trucks. With this announcement in mind, it appears that Daimler is setting the stage for the eventual rollout of an all-electric truck, which could provide some healthy competition for companies such as Tesla, whose Semi is expected to enter production next year. With Freightliner breaching the market for electric trucks, the transportation sector’s transition towards electrification could very well see a boost.
Daimler’s announcement suggests that Das Auto has come to terms with the fact that the next generation of automobiles will be powered by electric powertrains. With companies such as Tesla proving that there is a real demand for electric vehicles that are powerful, attractive, and reasonably priced, veteran carmakers such as Daimler are practically forced to adapt to the increasing demand for EVs. Daimler’s German rivals appear to have acknowledged this, with Volkswagen releasing the ID.3, Audi coming out with the e-tron, and Porsche debuting the Taycan, its flagship electric car.
Overall, Daimler’s announcement comes at a rather ironic time for Mercedes-Benz, one of its brands. Just recently, Mercedes-Benz CEO Ola Källenius praised the rising sales of diesel in Europe. “The truth is that in most situations, diesels enjoy an economy benefit of 15-20% and in a lot of circumstances also lower NOx emissions than they are certified at. There is no rational reason today not to buy one if your driving profile suits its best use,” the CEO said.