The strategy: A drive system for the future

In its road map towards sustainable mobility, Mercedes-Benz attaches key importance to the optimisation of modern internal combustion engines alongside hybrid and electric vehicles. In particular, the economical, clean and, especially in Europe, highly popular diesel engine makes an important contribution to the further reduction of fleet consumption. Mercedes-Benz's modular family of premium diesel engines is therefore a drive system for the future.
In the medium term, the modular family of engines will find broad application across the entire range of Mercedes-Benz cars and vans. There are plans for several output variants as well as longitudinal and transverse installation in vehicles with front-, rear- and all-wheel drive.
The premium diesel will therefore play a key strategic part in the CO2 emissions of Mercedes-Benz's fleet of new vehicles. Considerable progress has already been made: with a fleet average of 123 g/km, Mercedes-Benz succeeded in 2015 in lowering the average CO2 emissions of the passenger cars it sold in the European Union by six grams compared with 2014. The average fleet consumption in 2015 was thus 5.0 litres/100. Over just two vehicle generations, fuel consumption has been lowered by more than 40 percent in 15 years.
Mercedes-Benz currently offers 68 models with CO2 emissions below 120 g CO2/km, with 108 models having been awarded the energy efficiency label A+ or A. With 87 models, diesel engines are disproportionately represented among these champions of efficiency.
Financed by the EU Commission, the Odyssee Mure Study[1] concludes for the market as a whole that the diesel engine, in particular, has played a pioneering role in reducing the average consumption of new vehicles. According to the study, those eleven EU countries in which the average consumption of new cars is below 5 litres/100 km have a diesel market share of over 70 percent. Overall, diesels made up around 53 percent of the market in Europe (EU and EFTA countries) in 2014[2].
Road map towards sustainable mobility: the diesel engine is indispensable
Mercedes-Benz's development strategy is aimed at securing the company's long-term leadership in the segment for premium automobiles. To this end, three key areas have been identified in the road map towards sustainable mobility:
  • optimisation of the internal combustion engine with state-of-the-art technology as well as targeted optimisation measures on the vehicle, such as in the areas of aerodynamics, lightweight design and energy management. A key pillar of this strategy is the launch of the new family of premium diesel engines.
  • Further efficiency gains through needs-based hybridisation. There is currently a very strong focus on the Mercedes-Benz plug-in hybrid initiative: By 2017, there will be ten models on the market. Following the unveiling of the S 500 e in 2014 and the successful launch of the C 350 e in March 2015 (saloon and estate models), August 2015 saw the fourth model in dealer showrooms in the form of the GLE 500 e 4MATIC. The fifth member of the group, the GLC 350 e, is set to follow in spring 2016, and the saloon version of the E 350 e will come onto the market before the end of this year.
  • Locally emission-free driving with fuel cell and battery vehicles. Following the launch of the battery-electric B 250 e in 2015, 2016 will see the market entry of the fourth-generation smart electric drive, which, alongside the familiar two-seater and cabriolet variants, will also be available in a four-seater version. The company is additionally working on an intelligent concept for a cross-model architecture for a vehicle with a range of between 400 and 500 km. Equally, development of the new generation of Mercedes-Benz electric vehicles with fuel cell drive is on the way. The company plans to launch a model based on the GLC in 2017.
Mercedes-Benz is also working on the development of clean and alternative fuels that are not in competition with food production.