Mercedes CEO says Europe’s gas crisis will accelerate its shift to renewables
Deregulation, competition and new technology are all forcing the German car giant to change its business model, so that it can achieve a sustainable future. And it does so with a radical transformation of its operations from a gas-driven to an environmentally friendly, carbon-free business
At a German auto show in Munich, CEO Ola Kalliala, a Swedish immigrant who arrived in Germany in 1965 as an accountant in the company’s sales department, said that his goal – and Mercedes’ goal as a whole – was to become a world leader in electric vehicles. “We have an electric vehicle (model) and soon also an electric car,” he said. “Our objective is to be the best electric car company in the world.”
Kalliala said he was concerned by the energy crisis and the threat that climate change would affect “the whole planet with our very existence” as he told the Reuters conference.
He added that he also saw a new era for Mercedes and the other German car-makers as the company “tries to change its energy model from production-based energy to the sustainable energy model that it is.”
And while Mercedes is in the midst of a major drive to convert to electric cars and to be carbon neutral (sources: IEA, Reuters) – a goal that is also shared by the industry leaders in the other countries of the European Union (EU) (source: Reuters) – Kalliala said that in Germany he was “concerned that we do not have enough energy to power our production facilities and our mobility fleet.”
He said at the beginning of the year that his goal was to reduce CO2 output by 6 percent by 2020. Mercedes has been working on a new powertrain to meet this goal since May 2012, but it is not yet clear what the new powertrain is, or whether it will be an EV or hybrid for the Mercedes models, or an engine for its own vehicles.
Kalliala said that the Mercedes model would have an “