What percentage of your global sales will be EQ models and what percentage will be plug-in hybrid?
In 2020, our xEVs — plug-in hybrids and full-electric models — accounted for a single-digit percentage of our global sales. In the first quarter of this year, we were at about 10 percent globally and 25 percent in Europe. In volumes, xEVs in the quarter were about 59,000 units, of which 16,000 pure electric. By the way, our plug-in hybrids are class leading in terms of their performance range, which is more or less 100 km based on WLTP guidelines.
In 2020 there was some leeway in meeting Europe’s CO2 target because of the supercredits given for low-emissions cars and because you could avoid counting the 5 percent of your highest emitting models. In 2021, those things disappear and the entire fleet must comply under the tougher WLTP standards instead of the NEDC rules. Some competitors have said that means CO2 in 2021 will need to be cut by another 12 to 15 percent compared to 2020. Is that correct?
That’s about right. Therefore, after taking a big step in 2020 we need to take another big step in 2021. In 2020, we were around 104 grams per kilometer of CO2 based on NEDC, which means we were a few grams below where we needed to be. But, according to WLTP rules, we were at roughly130 grams. That being said, we are on track to meet the tougher target in 2021.
Last year Mercedes had to buy emissions credits in China and the U.S. because it prioritized EV sales in Europe. Will Mercedes be able to comply this year in all its major markets without the help of credits?
We are not going to be there yet in 2021, but it’s a situation that improves every year and we have a clear plan to be compliant.
The European Union recently introduced a mechanism to collect real world emissions data using device that will be installed on new cars starting this year. Green groups say this device will prove that plug-in hybrid are not as environmentally friendly as advertised unless they are charged regularly. What is your view on this and how will the EU use this data?
We all know that we need a standardized measurement for certification. That is why we switched to WLTP from NEDC. But your individual consumption can vary depending on how you drive. The EU’s goal is to make sure individual consumption during real world driving and the certification numbers reached during testing don’t diverge. Our goal is to reduce CO2. The ultimate task here is to get to zero emissions. There’s no question about this. Ultimately, it will lead to complete electrification. When it comes to plug-in hybrids, we are now on the third generation of those cars, but a lot of the talk about them is still based on data from the first generation where the batteries were smaller and the range was shorter. As we offer customers a longer range, they will use plug-in hybrids much more in the spirit as they were intended. Many customers can drive back and forth to work for the whole week in full-electric mode. The EU will be monitoring this data and so will we because it is in our interest to help our customers get the most out of the technology. People who use the Mercedes me app can opt in to share their fuel consumption data to see where they rank according to their real driving. To make eco-driving more appealing, we have launched an app and we have designed some gaming graphics in the instrument cluster to encourage customers to drive in an energy-efficient way. So, along with technologically mastering this challenge, we are also looking to change people’s driving behavior by encouraging them and working with them during this journey.
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