Internal combustion goes past tense at Mercedes-Benz

A lot of people who appreciate cars and their history credit Daimler-Benz with inventing the automobile as we’ve understood it for more than 100 years. The basic template, as created in 1885 by Gottlieb Daimler and Karl Benz, was three wheels (four were soon accepted as more suitable) and a popping, single-cylinder internal combustion engine that burned vaporized petroleum distilliate as its power source. Amidst innumerable revisions, we’ve pretty much been in that same place ever since. That changed last week with an announcement whose enormity was only moderately tempered by the clinical language that framed it. Mercedes-Benz, the de facto creator of the car, is going all electric, and very soon.

The historic transformation gets underway later this year as Mercedes-EQ, as the manufacturer’s electric operation is now known, rolls out the EQS sedan as a 2022 EV offering. Based strongly on the gasoline-fueled S-Class, the EQS foretells a wholesale switch to EV architecture at Mercedes-Benz by 2025. That year, Mercedes-Benz will introduce three new EV-only platforms: MB.EA for luxury automobiles, AMG.EA for electric-powered performance cars, and VAN.EA for light commercial vehicles. Mercedes-Benz is also working on Vision EQXX, an electric passenger car prototype being developed with strong input from its Formula 1 powertrain team, which works extensively with F1’s KERS energy-recovery technology, and is predicting an eventual real-world range of more than 1,000km per charge. To that end, Mercedes-Benz has purchased YASA, the U.K.-based firm developing advanced axial flux electric motors. It also plans a network of eight major factories producing advanced batteries, the creation of 530,000 AC and DC charging sites in partnership with Shell, and actual EV production from seven plants on three continents beginning next year. This, folks, is the future, and the fact that Mercedes-Benz immersion is so complete is a stimulating notion.

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