Environmental protection

A comprehensive approach to environmental protection

Protecting the environment is a primary corporate objective of the Daimler Group. Environmental protection is not separate from other objectives at Daimler; instead, it is an integral component of a corporate strategy aimed at long-term value creation. The environmental and energy-related guidelines approved by the Board of Management define the environmental and energy-related policy of the Daimler Group. This expresses our commitment to integrated environmental protection, which begins with the underlying factors that have an impact on the environment, assesses the environmental effects of production processes and products in advance, and takes these findings into account in corporate decision-making.

€3.2 billion for environmental protection

In 2016, we continued to energetically pursue the goal of conserving resources and reducing all relevant emissions. We kept a close eye on the impact of all our processes, ranging from vehicle development and production to recycling and environmentally friendly disposal. Our expenditure for environmental protection reached €3.2 billion in the year under review (2015: €2.8 billion).

Car CO2 emissions of 123 g/km at the prior year’s level

Daimler makes great efforts to reduce the fuel consumption of its vehicles while enhancing their performance — and thus increasing driving enjoyment and safety reserves. As early as 2015, we were able to reduce the CO2 emissions of newly registered vehicles from Mercedes-Benz Cars in the European Union to an average of 123 grams per kilometer. This means we achieved our 2016 target of 125 g/km ahead of schedule. We were able to maintain the figure of 123 g/km in 2016 as well, despite a shift in our sales structure towards the upper-mid and large segments. (See graphic B.41) By means of technical innovations, we succeeded in further reducing the CO2 emissions of our individual models. This was made possible by both the continual optimization of our combustion engines and the great efficiency offered by our hybrid drive systems. Our efforts are supported here by new and very economical models with lightweight designs and significantly improved aerodynamics that have enabled us to exploit further fuel-saving potential. As a result, we have reduced the CO2 emissions of our cars by more than 12 % since 2012 — and by approximately 40 % within 16 years or just two vehicle generations. More than 65 Mercedes-Benz and smart models emit less than 120 g CO2/km and over 100 models have received A+ or A energy-efficiency labels. We plan to use innovative technologies for locally emission-free mobility, and in particular new hybrid models, in order to further reduce the fuel consumption and CO2 emissions of our cars.

B.41 MBC CO2 Emissions

We have also continuously reduced the pollutant emissions of our cars in recent years and have been able to meet new emission requirements in advance. For example, in 2009, Mercedes-Benz was one of the first manufacturers to begin introducing EURO 6 technology, which was not obligatory until September 2015. In 2016, Mercedes-Benz became the first manufacturer to offer diesel vehicles that already meet the more stringent Real Driving Emissions (RDE) limits that are scheduled to go into effect in the EU in September 2017. This achievement was made possible by a completely new four-cylinder diesel engine. This diesel engine is the first member of an extremely clean and efficient modular family of diesel and gasoline engines that will be utilized across the entire product range of Mercedes-Benz Cars, and also at Mercedes-Benz Vans.

Economical and low-emission trucks

In recent years, we have also continuously reduced the fuel consumption of our commercial vehicles, as well as their emissions of CO2 and pollutants. Daimler was the first manufacturer to switch its entire European product range to Euro VI before the new emissions standard went into effect in January 2014. We have succeeded in lowering the fuel consumption of the Actros by as much as 6 % through the introduction of the latest generation of the Mercedes-Benz OM 471 and OM 470 heavy-duty truck engines and the implementation of optimization measures for the entire vehicle. The new engines are being used in the heavy-duty Actros, Antos and Arocs trucks, and make all of those models among the most efficient trucks in their respective segments. Since the generational changeover in 2011, Mercedes-Benz has succeeded in continually reducing the fuel consumption of the Mercedes-Benz Actros by making numerous improvements to the drivetrain. In conjunction with the optimized 12-speed Mercedes PowerShift 3 transmissions, new low-friction engine oils, Predictive Powertrain Control (PPC) and aerodynamic measures, Actros customers in 2016 benefited from up to 15 % lower fuel consumption in comparison with the predecessor model.

Mercedes-Benz has kept its promise to provide its customers with the most fuel-efficient vehicles on the market, as has been demonstrated in more than 3,000 comparison drives known as “fuel duels” that have been carried out by customers across Europe in recent years. Approximately 1,150 fuel duels were carried out in 2016. In these comparison drives, customers tested Mercedes-Benz trucks in their fleet against vehicles manufactured by leading competitors. The results speak for themselves: The Mercedes-Benz trucks came out on top in the fuel duels more than 90 % of the time.

Our trucks also set the standards for fuel efficiency in North America, where we presented the new Freightliner Cascadia in September 2016. The Cascadia is the best-selling Class 8 truck in the NAFTA region. Development work on the new truck focused mainly on achieving further significant reductions in fuel consumption. The truck’s aerodynamic shape and state-of-the-art drivetrain components have played a major role in reducing fuel consumption by up to 8 % compared to the 2016 Cascadia Evolution, which was already an extremely economical vehicle.

The consumption of diesel fuel can be greatly reduced also by hybrid technology — especially in commercial vehicles used for distribution transportation. For example, the latest FUSO Canter Eco Hybrid consumes up to 23 % less fuel than a comparable diesel truck, depending on use, and the Freightliner M2e Hybrid consumes up to 30 % less fuel than a conventional diesel-powered M2 106. Hardly any other commercial vehicle manufacturer has broader experience in the areas of alternative drive systems and electric mobility – ranging from vans and trucks to buses.

In Europe, we plan to reduce the fuel consumption of our truck fleet by an average of 20 % over the period of 2005 to 2020. We are confident that we will achieve this ambitious target, and we took a further step in that direction with the introduction of the new generation of the OM 471 heavy-duty truck engine in 2015 and the slightly smaller OM 470 in 2016.

Efficiency Run 2016: Up to 20 % lower fuel consumption and emissions

Mercedes-Benz Trucks and the trailer manufacturer Krone worked together to turn the concept of an “integrated approach” to reduce CO2 emissions into reality in less than 12 months. The integrated approach incorporates every player in the haulage sector into efforts to reduce fuel consumption — i.e. commercial vehicle manufacturers, bodybuilders, tire suppliers, logistics companies and, last but not least, political decision-makers. The two companies’ development efforts within the framework of the integrated approach offer real benefits to customers. The Mercedes-Benz Actros presented at the 2016 IAA Commercial Vehicles show featured an efficiency package and the latest generation of the OM 471 six-cylinder inline engine, as well as the anticipatory Predictive Drivetrain Control system and A-label low rolling-resistance tires. When all of this is combined with the new Krone Profi Liner Efficiency trailer, the result promises to be a reduction in fuel consumption and CO2 emissions of up to 20 % compared to previous tractor-trailer combinations. The comparison is based on a standard semitrailer-tractor combination from 2014. Thanks to the Efficiency Run, Mercedes-Benz Trucks and Krone were able to quickly transform the package of measures presented at the IAA to reduce fuel consumption and CO2 emissions into specific standard products that can now be ordered.

Clean and efficient drive system technology for buses

Daimler is also leading the way in terms of the introduction of the latest exhaust technology for the bus sector. For example, all Mercedes-Benz and Setra model series were made available with Euro VI technology at a very early stage. A further reduction in the fuel consumption of our already efficient buses was achieved through the use of the new Mercedes-Benz engines. For example, the introduction of the new OM 471 diesel engine as well as various vehicle optimization measures has led to a further fuel-consumption reduction of around 4 % in Setra coaches and the Mercedes-Benz Travego, despite higher performance and greater overall robustness. Assuming mileage of 100,000 kilometers per year and consumption of approximately 24 liters of diesel fuel per 100 kilometers, every coach equipped with a new-generation OM 471 engine saves around 1,000 liters of fuel and reduces CO2 emissions by 2.5 tons per year. The Citaro NGT with natural gas drive is even cleaner and quieter than the conventional Citaros equipped with state-of-the-art Euro VI diesel engines. Moreover, the Citaro NGT’s all-new M 936 natural-gas engine makes the bus the benchmark in its segment. The Citaro NGT is up to 10 % more efficient than the predecessor model — and when organic natural gas is used, the vehicle is virtually CO2 neutral. In parallel with the further optimization of the combustion engine, the next step along the path into the future is the battery-electric Citaro, which Daimler Buses plans to launch as a series-production model on the basis of the e-mobility platform in 2018.

Improved environmental performance of electric mobility

The first system batch of a second-use battery-energy storage unit went on line in Lünen, Westphalia, in September 2016 after less than a year of construction time. A total of 1,000 battery systems from second-generation smart fortwo electric drive cars have been grouped into a stationary battery-energy storage unit with a capacity of 13 MWh.

The efficient management of energy and material resources also applies to all components used in electric mobility applications. With this second-use battery storage unit, the joint venture between Daimler AG, The Mobility House AG and GETEC has a forward-looking answer to the key question regarding the reuse of electric vehicle battery systems. That’s because the lifecycle of a plug-in or electric vehicle battery does not end after its automotive application. When used for stationary power storage, the systems remain fully operational, even after the service life guaranteed by the manufacturer; slight capacity losses are only of secondary importance here. It is estimated that such a unit can operate profitably in a stationary application for at least another ten years. Reusing modules from electric vehicles in a battery storage unit doubles their economic utility and also significantly improves their environmental performance.

The joint venture partners cover the entire battery value creation and recycling chain with their project in Lünen — from the manufacture and processing of battery systems at the Daimler subsidiary Deutsche ACCUMOTIVE and the corresponding range of electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles from Daimler AG, to the installation and marketing of stationary battery storage units in the energy markets by The Mobility House and GETEC, the recycling of the battery systems at the end of their lifecycle, and the return of the valuable raw materials back into the production cycle, which REMONDIS will be responsible for in the future.

car2go improves the quality of life in big cities

The flexible car sharing model car2go offers clear benefits not only to customers but also to cities and their residents. This was actually demonstrated in a three-year study published in 2016 and conducted by the University of California, Berkeley, in Washington, D.C., Vancouver, San Diego, Seattle and Calgary. According to the university’s Transportation Sustainability Research Center (TSRC), every car2go vehicle can remove several private cars from the road, thus helping to reduce the traffic congestion in urban areas. Car sharing also significantly improves vehicle utilization. For example, whereas a private vehicle is only used for around one hour on average every day, car2go vehicles are driven for a period of about three hours daily, depending on the city in question. More than 70 % of the private vehicles sold off by car2go members are at least ten years old — which means car2go removes thousands of cars with outdated exhaust gas systems from the road. In this sense, use of the extremely fuel-efficient, low-emission vehicles from car2go helps improve air quality. car2go vehicles are also often used for car-pooling purposes.

Extensive recyclability of old vehicles

To make our vehicles more environmentally friendly, we are reducing our automobiles’ emissions and the resources they consume over their entire lifecycle. We therefore pay close attention to creating a recycling-friendly design already at the development stage. Up to 85 % of the material in all Mercedes-Benz models is recyclable and as much as 95 % of the material is reusable.

Other proven elements of our recycling concept are the resale of inspected and certified used parts, the remanufacturing of parts and the MeRSy Recycling Management workshop disposal system.

Avoiding waste

In the area of waste management, Daimler believes that recycling and the prevention of waste are better than disposal. Accordingly, the reconditioning and reuse of raw, process and operating materials has been standard practice at our plants for many years. In order to avoid the creation of waste from the outset, we use innovative technological processes and environmentally focused production planning. Waste materials that are unavoidable are generally recycled. As a result, the recycling rate for waste at our plants is over 91 % on average. At some plants, almost 100 % of the waste is now recycled, meaning that waste destined for landfills has been almost completely eliminated.

As we systematically pursue our environmental protection activities, we rely on comprehensive environmental management systems. Today, more than 98 % of our employees worldwide work in plants whose environmental management systems have been certified as conforming to the ISO 14001 or EMAS environmental standards.

Environmental protection in production

In recent years we have been able to limit the energy consumption, CO2 emissions, production-related solvent emissions and noise at our plants with the help of environmentally friendly production processes. As a result, energy consumption during the period 2012–2016 increased by only 1.2 % to 10.9 million megawatt-hours, which was well below the rate of production growth. During the same period, CO2 emissions actually decreased by 11.9 % to 2.9 million metric tons. Our production-related CO2 reporting follows the so-called Greenhouse Standard. This standard requires changed accounting as of reporting year 2016. We have decided to apply the so-called market-based method. Calculated on a basis comparable with the year 2012, CO2 emissions would be 3.1 million tons in 2016, which is a reduction of 5.7 % over a five-year period. As was the case in the prior year, our ongoing energy-saving projects enabled us to counteract the additional energy consumption and increase in CO2 emissions that resulted from the rise in production in 2016. Energy consumption per manufactured vehicle (car) in the year under review decreased by 2.3 % from the prior year, and CO2 emissions were down by 5.6 %. With resource-conserving technology such as circulation systems, water consumption despite production growth decreased by 1.5 % between 2012 and 2016. In relation to the number of cars we manufactured, we were able to reduce water consumption by 5.0 % compared with the previous year.

Innovation and safety