When you look at current events, though, it's perhaps less surprising that Mercedes would want to work to relieve some of the pressure from its share of the intense scrutiny automakers are facing regarding emissions. The Volkswagen scandal is seemingly unrelenting, and Renault, FCA, and even Mercedes are facing their own diesel probes. Combined with a slowdown in Daimler's fleetwide CO2 emissions reductions for 2016 (Daimler can thank customers' appetite for larger vehicles for that one), the timing seems right to make a push toward electrification.
In the larger trend among automakers who are moving toward cleaner technologies and embracing a focus on mobility, Daimler wants to become a leader, according to Chairman Manfred Bischoff. "With a far-reaching transformation, we want to shape the profound transformation of the automotive industry, which is primarily being driven by digitization, from the forefront," he says.
This helps take some of the heat off those still working on traditional combustion. "Among development teams, especially in diesel, there are signs there's less to do as electrification is starting to have an impact," says Daimler supervisory board member Roman Zitzelsberger. Whether it's a reaction to emissions concerns or a genuine desire to get cleaner, more technologically advanced cars in the hands of customers, Mercedes is on board, and those new offerings will be here sooner rather than later.