The future strategies of the Mercedes is not focused only on the electric field. The plan CASE (Connected, Autonomous, Shared, Electrified) is much more complex. The man in charge with this ambitious plan is Wilko Andreas Stark. Italian magazine Quattroruote realized an interview about the future electric range but also about the evolution of the classic engines.
In these days of dramatically changing technologies, is not easy to be responsible for strategy decisions. A such man is responsible for investments of billions of euros and the future product range. In case of Mercedes, this very complex activity is managed daily by Wilko Andreas Stark, manager of the implementation of CASE plan and director of the Daimler group strategy.
After Mercedes has reached the no. 1 position on the premium market, you target also the No. 1 in the electric field?
We will launch over ten electric models between the 2019 and 2022, with a cadence that will reach six months between one debut and another and we will cover all segments, from smart to large SUVs. Within 2025, the electric will cover 15-25%
of total brand sales, and by then we aim to be the first premium manufacturer
even in zero emissions field.
Do you need a partner for the development of the batteries?
For the moment, the Lithium-Ion batteries are the best technology in terms of efficiency, quality, power, duration and costs. Advances in the field of materials
and the cost reduction due to the increase volumes will guide future developments. In particular, in the next decade we are waiting for a technological leap for the era after Li-Ion, with the commercial maturity of the accumulators with lithium sulfides. We expect a further reduce of costs and a dramatical increase of the range.
Autonomous drive: who is ahead? European industry or Silicon Valley?
We must also keep China in mind. I believe that at the end of the day a small number
of companies will be able to play the game at the highest level. Among these I see some great high-tech companies from California and China and some carmakers.
The first ones have an advantage in software skills, the latter in automotive. And both must fill a gap of know-how in the other field. Daimler has the advantage of having
high profile developers and a research center in Silicon Valley for more than twenty years. We are in the fortunate position to have all of the skills to extend our
leadership, thanks to the mutual technological transfer within the group.
The costs for the new technologies will force you to reduce the number of models? What will happen to the niche models like the SL?
We will continue review the range and to adapt to customer needs. Obviously,
with the arrival of the ten EQ models within the 2022, you will see important changes.
Electrical quotas in China: you will center the objectives for the period 2018-20?
With two strong partners like BAIC and BYD,we will not have problems to bring hybrids and electric models to 10% of the total sales in 2019 and 12% in 2020. Together with BYD, in 2015, we created the electric brand Denza, which is reserved for the local market and in the same time we are creating the necessary conditions for local production of EVs with the construction of a battery factory. In total we have already allocated 655 million euros to locate the production of EV cars and batteries in China.
Speaking now about the classic propulsion, which will be the next move on thermal engines? And why you don not use a three cylinder in the A-Class?
The optimization of traditional engines plays a decisive role in our roadmap for sustainable mobility. And the new family of four and six cylinders in line shows the future: mild hybrid with functions of sailing and energy recovery, 48 volt electric network, turbo with electric activation. We will continue on this way, introducing these innovations in all segments. Regarding
the new A-Class, we aimed to introduce a whole new range of engines exploiting our experience on the four cylinders. We don’t need a three cylinders because our engineers managed to develop four cylinder engines with consumption comparable to those of an engine with three cylinders and the typical comfort and performance of a four.