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Mercedes-Benz to expand EV range, step up research

Highlights

Six new EVs using a new large EV architecture to be launched from 2021

New 'electric first' Mercedes-Benz modular architecture platform being developed

Research program launched to push boundaries of range, efficiency in EVs

London — Luxury carmaker Mercedes-Benz is expanding its electric vehicle (EV) range as part of a revamped strategy, with six new EVs using a new large EV architecture lined up to launch from 2021.

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The company said Oct. 6 at the launch of its new strategy that its EQS luxury sedan would be the first car to use the new dedicated architecture and would be available to the market in 2021 with an electric range of more than 700 km.

It plans to follow this with the EQE, the EQS-SUV and the EQE-SUV, and is also planning to make its AMG, Maybach and G brands electric.

The company added that it was also developing a new "electric first" Mercedes-Benz modular architecture (MMA) platform for compact and medium-sized cars to be introduced from 2021, with multiple models to be added to its portfolio on the platform from 2025.

At the same time, the company said it would continue to electrify its most successful platforms.

Board member responsible for Daimler Group research and Mercedes-Benz Cars COO Markus Schafer said the company was targeting strong contribution margins for all new architectures from 2025 thanks to high commonality and controlled investment, and ongoing falls in the cost of battery systems.

"While we will expand the electrified portfolio towards a share of more than 50% of global sales by 2030, our investments in combustion engine development will decline quickly and the number of combustion engine variants will fall by 70% by 2030," he said.

Daimler AG and Mercedes-Benz AG chairman of the board Ola Kallenius said the new strategy was "designed to avoid non-core activities to focus on winning where it matters: dedicated electric vehicles and proprietary car software."

To this end, the company's new strategy is aimed at profitable growth in the luxury segment and targeted leadership in electric drive and car software, with Mercedes-Benz planning to invest in new technologies and concepts to accelerate its electric range and efficiency.

"The next generation of eMotors are developed in-house and will feature sophisticated inverter and high-voltage technology," the company said.

"The company is making huge strides in battery technology -- with in-house battery R&D complimented by close partnerships with key strategic partners CATL, Farasis and Sila Nano. New materials and production processes will increase range, reduce charging time and cost," it added.

Mercedes-Benz and CATL announced an enhanced partnership in August that would create battery technology to support the high-volume electrification of Mercedes-Benz's EV portfolio. Prior to that, the carmaker said in July that it would be buying a 3% equity stake in Chinese battery cell manufacturer Farasis Energy, with which it has also launched a strategic partnership.

Mercedes-Benz also announced Oct. 6 the Vision EQXX technology program, which tasks its engineering group with working to push the boundaries of electric range and efficiency in EVs.

It said the program would include a cross-functional, multi-disciplinary team based in Stuttgart, supported by specialists from the Mercedes-Benz F1 HPP (high-performance power trains) group in the UK.

"While Vision EQXX is a technology program, it is expected to result in innovations that will quickly make their way into series production cars," it said.

As part of its 'Ambition 2039' initiative, Mercedes-Benz is aiming to offer a CO2-neutral new car fleet in under 20 years from now and wants electrically powered cars, including all-electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles, to account for more than half of its sales by 2030.