Mercedes-Benz is setting the course for an all-electric future. By the end of the decade, the company intends to be ready to go all-electric wherever market conditions permit. Thinking of tomorrow today: this claim has also been implemented in the new EQE SUV, which launches in South Africa imminently. Here, we highlight the important building blocks of the transformation to sustainable mobility.
ELECTRIFIED PRODUCT PORTFOLIO
By the end of this year, Mercedes-Benz will offer battery-electric vehicles in all segments in which the brand is represented. From 2025, all new vehicle architectures will be exclusively electric. Customers will be able to choose an all-electric alternative to each model. The company is investing significantly more in research and development for this purpose. Between 2022 and 2030, a total of some R800 billion has been earmarked for investment in battery-electric vehicles. The accelerated expansion of the range of electric vehicles will lead to a faster break-through of electric mobility.
In South Africa, by the end of 2023, Mercedes-Benz will have the most extensive electric product portfolio, with seven distinct model lines making up the Mercedes-EQ offering.
CO2-NEUTRAL PRODUCTION AS PART OF THE ECO-BALANCE
Mercedes-Benz is integrating the all-electric Mercedes-EQ models into the ongoing series production of its global production network. Starting this year, eight Mercedes-EQ electric vehicles will roll off the production lines at seven locations on three continents.
Since 2022, all Mercedes-Benz-owned passenger car and van plants worldwide have achieved CO2-neutral production as part of their eco-balance. To this end, emissions generated in Mercedes-Benz vehicle production and in the energy supply of the plants are consistently reduced and, where possible, avoided
altogether. The company relies on three strategic pillars for doing so: continued increase in energy efficiency, the use of green power, and the realisation of a sustainable heat supply. In addition, concrete CO2 measures are agreed with suppliers.
SUSTAINABLE BATTERY PRODUCTION AS THE GOAL
The local production of batteries is an important success factor for the electric offensive of Mercedes-Benz. It is crucial in order to be able to meet the global demand for electrified vehicles in a flexible and efficient manner. Battery production plays an important role in the sustainable business strategy of Mercedes-Benz. For example, some Mercedes-Benz plants pro- duce battery systems in a CO2-neutral manner as part of their eco-balance. In addition, as part of strategic partnerships, Mercedes-Benz has agreed to purchase battery cells manufactured in a CO2-neutral manner.
DECARBONISATION OF THE SUPPLIER NETWORK
The EQE SUV’s bodyshell components are made from 100% recycled steel. This already reduces CO2 emissions for the semi-finished product by more than 60%. In general, the supplier network is responsible for a considerable proportion of the value creation and is thus of crucial importance for the decarbonisation goals. The majority of suppliers, who account for almost 90% of the annual purchasing volume, have already signed an Ambition Letter. In it, they declare their willingness to exclusively supply parts produced in a CO2-neutral manner in the future.
RAW MATERIALS FROM CERTIFIED MINING
Raw materials that are responsibly mined and processed form the basis of a sustainable, all-electric Mercedes-Benz vehicle fleet. In future, the company will only work with suppliers who agree to the brand’s certified-mining requirements. The goal is for the company to source battery cells exclusively with cobalt and lithium from verified and audited sources.
EQE SUV components with a total weight of more than 70kg are made partly from resource-saving materials (recyclates and renewable raw materials). These include, for example, grab handles with plastics from chemical recycling. In their production, fossil-based raw materials were replaced by biomethane and pyrolysis oil from recycled used tyres. What’s special is that the used tyres come from Mercedes-Benz vehicles, among others. In this way, not only is Mercedes-Benz clos- ing the materials cycle of used tyres, but the recycling of secondary materials also reduces the use of fossil-based resources as well as the CO2 footprint of the plastic. The innovative recycled plastic has the same properties as virgin plastic made from fossil-based raw materials.
SUSTAINABLE BATTERY USAGE IS THE GOAL
Mercedes-Benz takes a holistic approach to the battery life cycle: reuse, remanufacture, recycle. When the traction batteries of the Mercedes-EQ fleet reach the end of their life on the road, their life overall is far from over.
In some countries, Mercedes-Benz car batteries are connected to the grid as stationary energy storage units. The spectrum for largescale storage applications from Mercedes-Benz ranges from peak load balancing and black start (power plant start-up independent of the mains supply) to uninterruptible power supply (UPS). Only after this step does material recycling take place.
Click here for more info about Mercedes-EQ and the company’s sustainability efforts.