Mercedes-Benz is Spending $47 Billion on Its Electric Car Effort
Mercedes-Benz has always been known for its ability to produce luxury that is second to none. As such, they’ve always been rather good at innovating new strategies, accurately predicting what customers will want in the future and then delivering on their promises. The automotive market is one that is rapidly changing, thanks to the need to produce all electric vehicles as opposed to vehicles with internal combustion engines. Mercedes-Benz is very much involved in that transition. In fact, they say that they will have an entirely electric fleet of automobiles by the end of this decade.
More Than Just Empty Promises
Plenty of automotive makers have made similar promises in the past, only to have those promises go absolutely nowhere. The thing that sets Mercedes-Benz apart is that they’re not just throwing out a bunch of empty promises. Instead, they’re actually delivering on those promises and they’re starting right now. The very first all electric luxury car, the EQS, will become available later on this year. This particular model offers everything that you’ve probably come to expect from Mercedes-Benz over the years. The only difference is that it comes without the need to purchase gasoline or the worry associated with knowing that you’re throwing toxic and noxious chemicals into the atmosphere every time you turn the key. According to executives at Mercedes-Benz, this is just the beginning. They have a dedicated plan that will allow them to switch to all electric cars by the time we reach the year 2013. If things go as planned, they will no longer be producing automobiles with internal combustion engines at that time. Of course, it’s not all just about making electric cars. There is a lot of infrastructure that goes into it and this has not been lost on the people at Mercedes-Benz. You might even go as far as saying that they are leading the charge in making sure that the use of all electric vehicles is practical, thereby making it more likely the drivers will purchase them.
Creating a Viable Infrastructure
Obviously, a viable infrastructure must be created in order for the idea of an all-electric fleet of vehicles to be successful. Otherwise, it’s highly unlikely that this idea would go much further than many similar ideas have been proposed by Ford, Chevrolet and countless other automotive manufacturers who are still predominantly using internal combustion engines. Mercedes-Benz is approaching things quite differently. They are working to create no less than nine plants scattered across Europe that will exist solely for the purpose of manufacturing batteries for their new fleet of electric cars. In addition, they will be adding new factories that are designed specifically to make these cars, all of them with environmentally responsible construction and operation. The idea is to dramatically reduce the carbon footprint on the earth, not just through the vehicles that the company produces, but in the way that they manufacture them as well. Mercedes-Benz is even working with Shell Oil Corporation to increase the number of charging stations available across the globe. They also want to simplify the devices used at these charging stations in order to streamline their use and make them more user-friendly for drivers.
New Regulations Are Changing the Face of the Automotive Industry
There are two main reasons why Mercedes-Benz is so dedicated to producing an entirely electric fleet of automobiles. First and foremost, they have always been on the cusp of innovation. They want to do the environmentally responsible thing, and this is seemingly the ideal way to accomplish that goal. In addition, the United Kingdom will no longer allow any manufacturers to produce cars with internal combustion engines after 2030. As a result, all European manufacturers will be forced to switch to the production of electric vehicles. In addition, there are a few states within the United States that will also require a similar conversion five years later, in 2035. Mercedes-Benz understands that it takes time to create these types of sweeping changes, so they have made the wise decision to begin now as opposed to waiting until closer to the deadline.
Human Resources Concerns
One of the biggest concerns that has faced Mercedes-Benz is that involving human resources. Electric cars don’t require the same type of manpower to build as cars with internal combustion engines. They are simpler, more streamlined and have far fewer moving parts. As a result, there has been a great deal of concern about massive numbers of people losing their jobs because of this conversion to an all-electric fleet. Mercedes-Benz admits that this has been a concern and that they don’t need as many people to produce electric cars as they currently have on staff. The good news is that they plan to keep approximately 20,000 of the people who are currently working for them, for the sole purpose of retraining them for this new type of fleet. In addition to that number, they’re looking to hire approximately 3,000 more individuals that will work in software development. Obviously, they have more than 20,000 people working for them now. The individuals that aren’t retrained will be offered early retirement, thereby allowing them to leave the company with a complete severance package as opposed to simply being out of a job.
At the end of the day, Mercedes-Benz executives are quick to point out that it’s all about being responsible. That means being financially responsible, environmentally responsible, and responsible to the individuals who have faithfully worked for them over the years. That is another reason why they have started making these changes so early. It gives them the opportunity to work through the inevitable ups and downs of making such major changes. More importantly, it allows the people who depend on them for their income a chance to either get retrained, retire or find gainful employment in another line of work long before it ever becomes an issue.