Mercedes speeds up its rollout of electric vehicles

Mercedes-Benz is accelerating its rollout of battery-powered cars in a race to meet tighter emissions rules as European buyers turn away from fuel-efficient diesel cars.

In a €10 billion project, the world’s largest luxury-car maker intends to release 10 new electric vehicles by 2022, three years earlier than a target announced at the Paris auto show in September.

The expedited time frame reflects the urgency facing manufacturers as they brace for a shift away from traditional automotive technologies.

Combustion engines would continue to be refined for a “transitional period,” Mercedes parent Daimler said yesterday.

The faster pace comes as the industry battles with a backlash against diesel cars stemming from Volkswagen’s cheating scandal. Daimler has also been embroiled, with German prosecutors investigating the Stuttgart-based automaker’s employees over diesel-manipulation allegations.

The technology is key for meeting increasingly stringent rules for lower carbon-dioxide (CO2) emissions.

Like other automakers trying to prepare for a future of electric self-driving cars, Daimler’s been focusing its investments on future technologies at the expense of short-term profits.

The company plans to spend more than €1bn on its global battery production facilities, about half of which will go to a subsidiary in Kamenz, in eastern Germany.

Bloomberg


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