Board member Ola Källenius said in a statement (available below) that this new policy, "We are continuing on the path of zero-emission driving with consistency. This is why we are making electric mobility an integral part of the everyday lives of our top management to set an example and to provide a clear role model."
It's a big change from five years ago, when Daimler's director of fuel cell and battery drive development, Christian Mohrdieck, was willing to talk up the drawbacks EVs face. Even a year ago, Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche explained the financial hardships involved in making EVs. But, EV technology continues to change, and so, perhaps, do the attitudes inside Daimler. As EV advocate Chelsea Sexton said on Facebook regarding this new policy, "This should be standard procedure in any automaker seeking a leadership role in the plug-in vehicle movement. Commitment starts at the top."
Daimler is once again setting a new milestone on the road to zero-emission driving: In the future managers will drive electrified company cars. Furthermore, Daimler is this year set to invest a further 30 million euros into extending the company's own charging infrastructure across many of its sites. This will also benefit employees, who have access to a growing range of vehicles with alternative drive systems.
Stuttgart. It represents a further commitment from Daimler to an electric future for mobility: "We are continuing on the path of zero-emission driving with consistency", states Ola Källenius, member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG responsible for Mercedes-Benz Cars Sales and Marketing, about the importance of the current initiative. "This is why we are making electric mobility an integral part of the everyday lives of our top management to set an example and to provide a clear role model."
The agreement applies to the company's senior levels of management and focuses on plug-in hybrids. Daimler AG believes that the technology offered by these vehicles provides a key to zero-emission driving and is therefore expanding its product portfolio with plug-in hybrid drive systems. The models already presented and mostly already introduced to the market are the S 500 e in Saloon, the C 350 e in Saloon, Estate and extended-wheelbase versions, the GLE 500 e 4MATIC, the GLC 350 e 4MATIC and the new E 350 e Saloon.
In a pilot project in the wider Stuttgart region, managers across different levels are driving the purely battery-electric-powered B 250 e already since April 2015. One of these is Harald Kröger, responsible for E-Drive development of the company: "I can only commend to my colleagues to experience themselves over a longer period the viability of our battery-electric vehicles in everyday use. I never cease to be amazed by their completely silent electric "cruising" ability and yet at the same time by the impressively sporty nature of the electric drive system, which immediately places its full torque at disposal of any engine speed." It goes with the territory as Director of Development for E-Drive that Harald Kröger is an electric mobility enthusiast. He had previously driven the smart fortwo electric drive for company business, subsequently switching to one of the company's first plug-in hybrid models. With the battery-electric B-Class he continues his series of electrified company cars. "I am delighted that our eMobility initiative will give managers the opportunity to experience this drive system", reinforces Kröger.
30 million euros for charging infrastructure
The vast majority of electric-car drivers put their vehicle on charge whenever they leave it for a longer period: mostly overnight or while they're at work. This brings benefits in terms of both convenience and time, with no need to drive out of one's way to find a filling station, as might otherwise be necessary. Daimler identified this trend very early on - in the wider Stuttgart area alone, the company has already built 556 charging points for managers and employees. Already therefore Daimler is a pioneer in this field and is now taking things a step further: "In order to enable the convenience of using our electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles, we have now decided to extend the charging infrastructure at our company locations even further. This work will already be undertaken over the next few months", emphasises Ola Källenius. All in all, the company will be making an immediate investment of 30 million euros into extending charging facilities.
Interesting offers for employees
All Daimler AG's staff are able to take advantage of the steadily growing range of eMobility vehicles. Both partially and fully electric vehicles are available at attractive terms through the employee car scheme. This offer includes the smart fortwo electric drive and the B 250 e as well as the GLE 500 e and the C 350 e. The research project "charge@work" that was launched in October 2013 offers employees the use of electric vehicles for both business and private use and has been developed alongside the company's charging infrastructure. Since that date, they have been able to hire a smart fortwo electric drive from the car pools at the company's Möhringen, Untertürkheim and Sindelfingen sites – for a weekend, a week or a whole month, as they prefer. The idea has been enthusiastically received and taken up by employees: The distance that has been covered with zero emission in the first year and a half alone is equivalent of 40 round-the-world trips.