• Mercedes Isn’t Afraid Of Electrification But Won’t Ride The Hype Either

Mercedes won’t give up on the internal combustion engine until it succumbs to a natural death

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Mercedes’ lineup of electric cars has ben growing a lot, with the lineup now including models like the EQA, EQB, EQC, and the recently revealed EQS flagship, and that doesn’t include mild-hybrid cars like the new Mercedes C-Class, which will only be offered with four-cylinder engines, That’s an example of engine downsizing and hybridization to meet emissions regulations, but from the outside I think we can all agree that it appears as if Mercedes is really grasping the concept of electrification. It may be, to some extent, but now we know it’s not giving up the internal combustion engine anytime soon.

Mercedes Looks To Take a Different, Controversial Path

Mercedes Isn't Afraid Of Electrification But Won't Ride The Hype Either
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Mercedes and AMG have had a lot going on lately. In April of 2021, for example, we learned that AMG has no interest in being politically current and will start to reach into new demographics with future models. Right around the same time, Mercedes and AMG confirmed that a high-performance EV was, in fact, in the works. These facts alone don’t exactly allude to the idea that Mercedes isn’t fully grasping electrification, but new word from CEO, Ola Källenius, paints an entirely new picture.

In an interview with Financial Times, and later covered by Autocar, Källenius explained that Mercedes isn’t only not giving up on the internal combustion engine, but it will continue to produce ICE cars until engines fade out of existence naturally.

Mercedes Isn't Afraid Of Electrification But Won't Ride The Hype Either
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“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.”

So, basically, he’s saying that until the company is forced to ditch the ICE altogether, it will continue to offer them. But, that doesn’t mean things won’t change as engines are scaled-down and electrified to continue meeting emission regulations or that the company isn’t ready for a full shit to electrification.

“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. When that point comes, we will be ready, and we will not hesitate for nostalgic reasons to switch over to the new technology 100%.”
Mercedes Isn't Afraid Of Electrification But Won't Ride The Hype Either
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With all of this said, the company isn’t keeping the ICE around for nostalgic reasons. It’s not about that at all. But it’s also not going to set a specific date in which its lineup is 100-percent electric, like nearly every other automaker has done. For now, it makes sense to continue building and selling the internal combustion engines the company currently has on hand. In the future, they will be retuned and supplemented with hybridization to keep the company within a certain level of compliance but they will continue to stick around until there is a natural, unforced shift into full-scale electrification. When that will happen becomes the question now. Will the ICE naturally die – as far as Mercedes is concerned – in 2025, a point where some automakers are shooting for or will it last until 2030 or even further?

Robert Moore
Robert Moore
Editor-in-Chief and Automotive Expert - robert@topspeed.com
Robert has been an auto enthusiast his entire life. He started working cars at a young age, learning the basics from his father in the home garage on the weekends. As time went on, Robert became more and more interested in cars and convinced his father to teach him how to drive when he was just 13 years old. Robert continued working on cars in his free time and learned as much as he could about engines, transmissions, and car electrical systems, something that only fed his curiosity more and eventually led him to earn a bachelors degree in automotive technology with a primary focus on engine performance and transmission rebuilding.  Read full bio
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