Mercedes-Benz’s New Vehicle Architectures Are Going EV-Only After 2025
Another day, another automaker promising to pivot hard toward electric vehicles by around 2025. This time, it’s Mercedes, which announced that “All newly launched architectures will be electric-only from 2025 onwards.” What does that mean, exactly? Well, it does not mark the end of internal combustion power at Mercedes, though it does reveal its days are likely numbered.
The phrasing Mercedes uses in its announcement is key: “All newly launched architectures”, and not all new vehicles, will be electric. This implies that gas- and diesel-fed cars and SUVs will still be available from Mercedes in 2025; however, after that point, all non-electric Mercedes models will not enjoy the promise of all-new platforms in the future.
So, assume Mercedes redesigned every vehicle in its lineup in 2024 and 2025 (a big if). Then that gives the brand’s traditional cars and SUVs about a five-to-seven-year shelf life before needing a redesign, based on current industry practice. This timeline jibes with the three-pointed star’s vague allusion to going “all electric at the end of the decade,” albeit “where market conditions allow. “
The transition will be made smoother with the introduction of equivalent EV alternatives to every vehicle in the automaker’s current portfolio. Name a Mercedes on the road today, and by 2025 it’ll have an electric equivalent, much like the EQC-to-GLC-Class relationship, or the EQS-to-S-Class relationship. By 2025, there will be three core EV platforms underpinning this plethora of upcoming electrics: MB.EA, which will deliver a basis for midsize-and-larger cars; AMG.EA, a “dedicated performance electric vehicle platform” for Mercedes-AMG; and VAN.EA, which, duh, is an electric van backbone that will underpin Mercedes-Benz’s commercial van lineup. Later, a small-car/SUV electric platform will join the mix, we’re told.
Mercedes is investing heavily in its own battery production capacity, aiming for more than 200 gigawatt-hours from eight new “Gigafactories” that will produce battery cells. We’ve been told that as chemistries change and packaging improves, Mercedes will incorporate such upgrades on the fly—the new vehicle architectures, including the one that underpins the new EQS luxury sedan, have battery boxes designed to play nicely with emerging battery tech. As the energy density of EV battery packs increases, and overall weight decreases, Mercedes will happily fill the battery box with fewer cells if it generates a similar overall driving range on a full charge; alternatively, the company says it could stuff the battery box with cells of greater energy density and potentially deliver a 1,000-mile driving range without adding any extra weight. That’s all hypothetical, however, and we’ve been told it’s more likely Mercedes will reap the weight-loss benefits of a smaller battery array capable of today’s expected 300-400 miles of range per charge, rather than allocate resources so that each vehicle can drive 1,000 miles per charge.
Confidence in charging infrastructure improvements is a big reason for that less-is-more thinking. After all, a battery that’s lighter but more power-dense than the one it replaces makes for a less weighty vehicle overall, one that by default could go further on a charge (even with the same capacity as the battery it replaces) because the motors are pushing less mass around, thus requiring less energy. And speaking of motors, Mercedes has acquired YASA, a company that develops “ultra-high-performance axial flux motors.”
To ensure charging convenience continues to increase, Mercedes is working on a program dubbed “Plug & Charge,” a simplified interface that “will allow customers to plug in, charge, and unplug without extra steps needed for authentication and payment processing.” This will launch with the new EQS sedan this year and will work with the Mercedes me Charge network, which boasts over 530,000 AC and DC charging points around the globe. A deal with Shell will open up a further 30,000 points by 2025 via its Recharge network in Europe, China, and North America.
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