The pioneer of the automobile has outlined its plans to go electric over the next decade, with three new electric platforms and eight new models by 2023.

Mercedes-Benz has detailed its plans for an electric future, which will see the iconic German brand be “ready to go all-electric” in 2030 “where market conditions allow”.

Announced overnight, the new strategy sees an acceleration of Mercedes-Benz’s electric vehicle (EV) plans, with plug-in hybrid and all-electric vehicles now set to account for 50 per cent of global sales, up from the 25 per cent target previously announced.

In 2030, the marque plans to be “ready to go 100 per cent electric where market conditions allow”, with more EV-friendly markets such as Europe and China likely to stop petrol and diesel vehicle sales before regions like Australia.

Key to achieving Mercedes’ goals will be a shift in strategy, from an “EV-first” approach based around offering fully-electric and combustion-engined cars on the same platform (with a skew towards electric power), to an “EV-only” approach focused on introducing electric vehicles based on dedicated electric-only ‘skateboard’ platforms.

From 2025 onwards, Mercedes-Benz claims “customers will be able to choose an all-electric alternative for every model the company makes”, covering everything from the small A-Class hatch, to the all-new C-Class mid-size sedan, and the full-size GLS SUV (assuming these models aren’t axed prior to 2025 to escape the deadline).

Prior to that date, the brand promises to offer all-electric vehicles “in all segments the company serves” by the end of 2022.

However, it’s understood this goal refers to size segments, rather than specific model segments – for example, the new EQA small SUV would represent the electric vehicle for the “compact” segment, which encompasses a variety of models from the A-Class and B-Class hatchbacks, to the CLA coupe-inspired sedan, and the GLA small SUV on which the EQA is based.

Joining the already-revealed EQA and EQB small SUVs, EQC mid-size SUV, EQS flagship sedan and EQV van will be an E-Class-sized EQE large sedan later in 2021, followed by large EQE SUV and upper-large EQS SUV models in 2022.

An electric version of the iconic G-Class four-wheel drive will launch in 2024, likely to wear the EQG moniker.

In 2024, Mercedes-Benz will launch its final new platform capable of supporting internal combustion engines – known as Mercedes-Benz Modular Architecture – which will underpin the next generation of Mercedes’ front-wheel-drive compact cars and SUVs.

From 2025, all new Mercedes-Benz architectures will be designed for electric vehicles only – starting with three new platforms launched that same year.

The ‘MB.EA’ platform will target mid-size and large passenger cars and SUVs, ‘AMG.EA’ will be a “dedicated performance electric vehicle platform” intended solely for the Mercedes-AMG performance division, while ‘VAN.EA’ will be used to underpin electric vans and light commercial vehicles.

Given the typical seven-year lifecycles of the brand’s models, and the fact not all markets will go electric in 2030, it appears Mercedes-Benz will stretch the lifespans of its petrol- and diesel-powered architectures well into the 2030s – particularly key in markets including Australia, where electric vehicle adoption lags (and will likely continue to lag) behind that of Europe.

That means, unless it is replaced ahead of schedule, the new MRA2 architecture underpinning the new-generation C-Class and S-Class sedans (along with a slew of future models) could be nearly a decade old before it is killed off in favour of electric power.

Alternatively, Mercedes could opt to convert its global line-up of mid-size and large vehicles to electric power first, leaving compact models such as the A-Class hatchback and GLA small SUV – the next-generation versions of which will ride on the combustion-capable MMA platform – to go down in history as the German marque’s last petrol-powered vehicles.

Alongside its new-model offensive, Mercedes-Benz has committed to switch every passenger-car factory and battery assembly site it owns to carbon-neutral production “by 2022”. It will also invest in new battery recycling factories, with the first set to open in Germany in 2023.

Full carbon neutrality is slated for 2039, according to the brand’s latest goals.

Eight battery ‘gigafactories’ are planned to be established across the globe over the coming years, producing over 200 gigawatt-hours of battery cells – the next-generation versions of which are said to be highly standardised, and suitable for use in 90 per cent of Mercedes-Benz cars and vans.

The brand’s employees and production line workers will be re-skilled and trained in “e-mobility”, with an additional 3300 software engineering jobs to be created to develop a new ‘MB.OS’ operating system for future electric vehicles.

Company boss Ola Kallenius says the marque “won’t chase volume”, and will instead focusing on increasing profits – with profit margins on electric vehicles similar to combustion-engined vehicles expected to emerge over the coming decade.

The introduction of modular electric-only platforms will lower costs, while “net revenue per unit” is also slated to be increased on high-end Mercedes-AMG and Mercedes-Maybach models.

Investment in the development of combustion engines in 2026 is also slated to have decreased by 80 per cent versus 2019 levels.

Stay tuned to CarAdvice and Drive for all the latest on Mercedes-Benz’s electric roadmap, as new vehicles are revealed, and further details are published.

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