Mercedes CEO Ola Källenius has defended his company’s pursuit of electric vehicles instead of investing in synthetic fuel technology, known as “e-fuels.”
Despite governments worldwide putting regulations in place spelling the end for the ICE vehicle, some automakers have attempted to save the technology by using “e-fuels,” or fuels made synthetically. Some, including Porsche and BMW, have even invested in e-fuel production centers, but not everyone is convinced this will be the savior of gas-powered technology. Most recently, the Mercedes CEO has criticized the e-fuels strategy, stating his brand will remain dedicated to a complete electric transition.
The Mercedes executive’s comments were first reported in the German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, in which the CEO explained his position on using e-fuel technology instead of electric vehicles. “Mercedes has a strategy that clearly relies on the electric drive. We will not fundamentally change these because of the decisions on e-fuels,” said Källenius. “From 2025, we will be aligning all of our new vehicle architectures solely for the electric drive.”
Further defending Mercedes’ dedication to electric vehicle technology, the CEO argued that electric-drive units are technically superior, able to achieve more power output, better efficiency, improved durability and consistency, and eventually, reduced production cost.
However, despite these advantages, especially over costly e-fuels, which remain prohibitively expensive to traditional consumers, the CEO pointed out one critical hurdle for EVs: charging infrastructure. As noted by Källenius, this concern has driven his company to invest in its charging network, which he argues will be critical to the complete adoption of EVs.
Källenius’ comments come at a pivotal time for Mercedes as it works faster than many of its peers to switch to electric vehicles. Currently, Mercedes offers multiples of the number of electric models that BMW, Audi, and Porsche do. Further, with the unveiling of its final ICE vehicle yesterday, it seems to be ahead of the curve on the development side as well.
It’s the end of an era. Mercedes has unveiled its last new ICE vehicle, the E-Class. What do you think of Mercedes’ current/upcoming electric models? pic.twitter.com/KypgG6FwPg
— TESLARATI (@Teslarati) April 25, 2023
Simultaneously, Mercedes’ top brands are working to double down on the auto giant’s lead. Most recently, Mercedes-Maybach, the automaker’s ultra-luxury brand, introduced its first electric model, the Maybach EQS SUV. Moreover, AMG, the company’s high-performance brand, is introducing an increasing number of electric variant vehicles to its lineup and is expected to release its first true electric sportscar in the near future. Even the business’s commercial wing has introduced its first electric offerings, including an electric semi-truck and electric van.
The dedication of the premium German brand has undoubtedly paid off, as its marketshare and sales, particularly in the luxury electric vehicle market, continue to grow year over year. Hopefully, Mercedes can inspire its luxury counterparts to do the same.
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