|The interior of the new Mercedes-Benz electric SUV, the Mercedes EQC, at Artipelag art gallery in Gustavsberg, Stockholm, Sweden, Sept. 4, 2018. EPA|
By Jung Min-ho
German carmaker Mercedes-Benz has pledged to make its entire passenger car fleet carbon-neutral in the next 20 years, abandoning traditional combustion engines.
As part of its new sustainable business strategy, the company aims to finish a "fundamental transformation" by 2039. The plan is far more aggressive than similar carbon-neutral targets announced by Volkswagen and other major carmakers.
Mercedes cited climate change as the reason behind the change.
"To us the Paris Agreement is more than an obligation ― it's our conviction," the company said Monday (local time). "And we have set a clear course to help prevent further acceleration of climate change."
By 2030, the company plans to have all-electric models and hybrids make up more than half its total sales.
"Our Factory 56 is the blueprint: This new addition to our Sindelfingen plant uses renewable energy and will be CO2-neutral from the start," Mercedes said. "Next, all of our European plants will follow by 2022. Our new production site in Jawor, Poland, shows how sustainability and cost efficiency go together: Not only does wind power make production greener, it also makes it more economical at this site than possible with conventional power.
"Electricity from renewable sources will also be used for production of the EQC at our plant in Bremen and our battery production in Kamenz, Saxony. A holistic view on carbon cutting also includes the recycling of raw materials. Mercedes cars have a potential recycling ratio of 85 percent. So, we are moving from a value chain to a value cycle."
The company said such transformation is possible only if the auto industry, energy suppliers and policymakers work together.
"This transformation is a huge challenge ― technologically and financially," Mercedes said. "After all, we want to make sustainable mobility even more exciting, not more expensive.
"It requires massive investments and tangible action also beyond the auto sector. Carbon-neutral energy and a comprehensive infrastructure are indispensable for this system change. And we are open to a discussion on effective CO2 pricing as well as incentives for low/no carbon technology ― preferably on a global scale.
"This transformation is the task of our generation and I'm absolutely confident we have the right team to deliver. This strategy will help us stay in a leading position in the auto industry."