Daimler’s Chief Environmental Talks Future Of Electric Vehicles

AUG 16 2016 BY MARK KANE 12

Anke Kleinschmit, Vice President Group Research and Sustainability and Chief Environmental Officer, Daimler AG

Anke Kleinschmit, Vice President Group Research and Sustainability and Chief Environmental Officer, Daimler AG

Anke Kleinschmit, Daimler’s VP Of Group Research and Sustainability, and Chief Environmental Officer, recently shared her thoughts about electric vehicles in Automotive Engineering interview.

According to Kleinschmit, electrification is one major element of the future of mobility, however for today Daimler employs many solutions – more efficient combustion engines, more hybrids to reduce consumption, and finally all-electric and fuel cell vehicles.

In case of BEVs, quality, longevity and safety are all on par with conventional cars today, but like any new technology,  initial development costs are intensive, so it will take time to lower prices to market acceptable levels for mass adoption.

Kleinschmit notes that there is many new plug-ins coming soon from Daimler, including 500 km (311 miles) BEV:

“It is natural that new technologies are more cost-intensive at the time of their introduction. But we already feel a great commitment to the electrified cars in our portfolio, from plug-in hybrids up to our B-Class ED (Electric Drive) and the upcoming new generation of the smart ED – the first time as a 2- and a 4-seater. And there is more to come.

Before the end of the decade, we’re bringing a large electric vehicle to lay the foundation for our future electric strategy with a range of up to 500 km (311 mi). That’s why we are investing 500 million euros in a second battery factory on our battery production site in Kamenz. It is clear that battery technology increasingly allows higher ranges at decreasing costs.”

Hydrogen fuel cell cars? Well, “generous range and short refueling” times make Kleinschmit convinced that FCV also will find an application in like larger vehicles such as sedans or even city buses.

Hat tip to Joel Sapp!

source: SAE International

Categories: Daimler, Mercedes

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12 Comments on "Daimler’s Chief Environmental Talks Future Of Electric Vehicles"

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Little comment traffic means its getting tiresome. Mercedes still supports fuel cells, and delaying the inevitable. Among the highest profit margin companies, with the most resources, Kleinschmit’s job is to deflect the true course of sustainability in automobiles.

Wonder how long she’ll last? Pay good?

when it comes to fuel cell research, daimler is not unique among automakers as most automakers are also investigating fuel cells. when it comes to phev’s, though, daimler is more like other european automakers, who seem to view phev’s as “compliance cars” to evade the imposition of carbon taxes and congestion charges.

“But even if the battery technology is making great progress, the fuel cell will continue to have at least one clear advantage: generous range and short refueling times. In addition, the fuel-cell technology can be applied to larger vehicles such as sedans or even city buses.”

Stopping every hour to cool battery and charge during full speed Autobahn drive isn’t so great way to attract millions of luxury car buyers. So you do what governments tells to do, but start it where it makes more sense – smaller city cars like Smart, plugin hybrids for enthusiasts and compliance, maybe some bigger battery only car for specific markets with high government incentives.

“But even if the battery technology is making great progress, the fuel cell will continue to have at least one clear advantage: generous range and short refueling times.” Fuel cells don’t really have more generous range it is just assumed they do. The Toyota Mirai which is a midsized sedan has a range of 312 miles on full tanks of H2. The Tesla S90D has 294 miles of range with 303 on the highway. And we all know that the Tesla S100D will be unveiled at any moment since regulators in Europe have already had certification for the designation “100D” and “100X” come across their desks recently. That will boost the range of the fullsized Model S to beyond the Mirai’s range. The limitation for FCVs is how much H2 can be stored in tanks at 10,000 psi. The tanks in the Mirai hold 5 kg of H2 and take up a lot of space behind the seats and into the trunk. Sure fuel cells can become more efficient to get more range out of the fuel those tanks can hold but there is no easy quick answer to that limitation. No quicker than the answers to faster charging and… Read more »
ms. kleinschmit has properly recognized the advantages of fcev over bev. it’s an understandable perspective because daimler has to be concerned with selling cars to more than just ev enthusiasts. to that extent you have to address the issue or refill time for fcev verses recharge time for a bev. bev’s lose on that score at present. fcev’s lose on the score that they are nowhere near ready for prime time at present. a big flaw in the reasoning of ev enthusiasts is that they tend to only look at sunny day scenarios. that doesn’t work for the general public, which has to be convinced to ditch icev’s for *ev’s. a major issue to be addressed is convenience. to get a *ev to the point that it is reliable transportation for daily use, you have to address the problem of recharge time. it is not enough to just look at full charge range. to get bev’s to the point where a recharge time is competitive with a refill time, you would need megawatt charging stations. the “you can charge at home” story isn’t reliable enough because you have to be able to ensure that a person can recover the day’s… Read more »

He didn’t tell “highest range”. There is no point to compete for highest range, just like with gas cars, as refill takes 2-5 minutes and once you reach “generous range” of 300 miles without increasing car mass way too much, it doesn’t matter.
I don’t mean that battery cars are hopeless or something like that. They work fine whey you can recharge overnight and travel within the range most of the time. But some 1/3 of people can’t charge overnight in US and 2/3 in Europe, others need long range travel with 5 minute refills at reasonable cost. Pure battery cars alone would have trouble to do it. Battery weight will remain an issue too for long time even with ever increasing specific energy.

EV might win out in the long run, but so far profitability is limited. Daimler can’t report losses over and over again like tesla does and ask investors to pick up the bill. They have to fund their EV models from current operations.

Many car manufacturers have announced the next step on EV (Mercedes, Audi, BMW, Volkswagen, Jaguar, etc) from 2018 onwards – likely the first time a realistic break even can be achieved.

I don’t understand why people are so negative that companies still invest in future tech. Fuelcells are the perfect augmentation for any EV and would be a great asset for long distances.

EV Enthusiasts are very opinionated and think that they speak for all consumers of vehicles, even though they are really more like 1%. And while I’m an enthusiast, I try to be more objective and realistic.

Especially on this site …. You are a popular company if you burn through cash without any need to make a dollar or two. It’s just the way it is and you need to look past the fan base which most of still drive ICE cars and have been for a long time.

It’s just the cheap talk which costs them nothing …. Well 1000 bucks at the most anyway.

Thanks for the feedback, I am having sometimes the feeling that few people here on the forum are grounded in reality. The car industry operates on very tight margins and many of the mass production brands (VW, GM, Ford) have a serious margin problem. Burning money on the first couple of tenthousandths of cars is not an option. That’s why most just test the water for now (e.g. Daimler had a very early stake in Tesla, VW launched their first test out models, BMW took a leap of faith without going all in…)

Talk is cheap, how about some products?

Fuel cells are big, heavy, expensive. They have the same problem as batteries.

They also have 2 disatvantages. 1st they have a poor efficiency and 2nd there is no refill infrastructure because it is very very expensive (I think 2mil Euros per station)compared with supercharges. And it will remain so for a long time.

So their main advantage fast refueling falls short because of lack of profitability.

A typical car company CEO doesn’t understand much out of technic and also doesn’t have much vision. That’s why they waste money on fuel cells