Mercedes-Benz will keep combustion engines around while they are still viable – ready for full EV switch

It’s pretty clear that Mercedes-Benz is heavily committed to electric vehicles, as seen with its growing range of EQ models that currently includes the EQA, EQB, EQC, EQS and EQV. However, the company will still continue to produce vehicles with combustion engines as long as they are commercially viable, revealed Ola Källenius, CEO of Daimler, during the Financial Times’ annual Future of the Car Summit.

While the combustion engine still has a place in the Mercedes-Benz’s future (for now), Källenius said that the company will be ready to completely switch to EVs when it makes sense. “On the journey to zero-emission, we will come to a point where the scaling changes, where electric drive becomes our dominant drive, and eventually you actually lose the scale on combustion,” he said.

“It is good, then, that from an asset point of view, the cash investment lies in the past. You can, in an economical way, use those assets as long as the market carries it and it makes sense,” he added. As reported by Autocar, this could see the German automaker further develop its existing power units to comply with new Euro 7 regulations with electrification in mind, rather than investing on its own to create a new range of petrol and diesel engines.

Unlike other brands, Mercedes-Benz has not chosen a specific time to go fully electric, although it does plan to have over 45 electrified models by 2030. “That is why we have not artificially picked a point [for a full transition to electrification], but when a new technology takes over, you come to a point on that S-curve where the exponential growth becomes so fast that it happens on its own,” Källenius explained.

“When that point comes, we will be ready, and we will not hesitate for nostalgic reasons to switch over to the new technology 100%,” he continued.

The company has already agreed to partner with Geely on the development and production of combustion engines, as part of a partnership between both parties, Mercedes-Benz’s smart brand is also involved in the partnership, with products planned for global markets.

“With Geely, we have a very good partnership. The projects we do have a clear rationale: win-win. If both sides can win on an economical, timing and technical basis, we go for it,” said Källenius “The scaling effect of doing that together was smarter than doing it alone, especially in a decade of transformation when some of the volume gets shifted over to electrification only,” he added.

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