Mercedes-Benz is on a fast track to a zero-emission future, having broadcast its ambitions to become an all-electric brand by 2030 in markets ready for the switch.
But the key U.S. market — still skeptical of the new-fangled technology and wary of spotty charging infrastructure — might not be one of them.
Mercedes-Benz expects electric vehicles to account for about half of its U.S. sales by 2030, the brand's U.S. executives said at a national dealer meeting in June.
The German luxury powerhouse is in the early days of an EV product offensive that will bring a handful of zero-emission models over the next year. Mercedes plans to plow more than $46 billion this decade into developing a fleet of battery-powered models.
In the U.S., Mercedes will introduce three EVs — the EQB compact crossover, EQE midsize sedan and EQS large SUV this year. Next year, the portfolio will be expanded with the arrival of the EQE midsize crossover.
Mercedes is also working on a next-generation EV platform that will launch in 2024.
The "electric first" platform, which can also accept internal combustion engines, will debut a new generation of technology and set the standard for future Mercedes architectures.
"This new MMA architecture ushers in a new generation of technology, both on the drivetrain side in terms of battery chemistry, efficiency and the drivetrain itself," CEO Ola Källenius said at the group's capital markets day in Monaco in May.
To power those U.S.-bound EVs, Mercedes will invest in vehicle and battery pack production. The automaker has poured $1 billion into its U.S. factory campus in Vance, Ala., to build electric utility vehicles and assemble battery packs.
Meanwhile, Mercedes has tapped Envision AESC of Japan to supply EV batteries. Envision will invest $2 billion in a new battery cell and module plant in Bowling Green, Ky. That operation is scheduled to come online in 2025.