Innovation, safety and environmental protection

Innovations for the future of mobility

We aim for the best possible customer utility, high standards of safety, environmental compatibility and efficiency. In order to work on achieving these goals in parallel, we rely on innovative concepts and environmentally sound product development.

In this context, we are focusing on CASE — these four letters stand for the four future-oriented strategic fields of connectivity (Connected), autonomous driving (Autonomous), flexible use and services (Shared & Services) and electric drive systems (Electric). We are moving ahead consistently in all of these areas at all of our divisions, and we are also linking them in an intelligent way to create a comprehensive target concept for our vehicles, services and business models. In this manner, we are underlining our claim to play a dominant role in the mobility of the future.

Our “road to emission-free driving”

Our “Road to Emission-free Driving” initiative defines the primary focal points for developing new, extremely fuel-efficient and environmentally friendly drive-system technologies at all of our automotive divisions. We are pursuing this approach along the entire value chain. To this end, we are addressing all relevant aspects and exploiting potential in all areas of development for everything from lightweight engineering to optimized aerodynamics, the use of clean and efficient fuels, the creation of electric drive systems, and the implementation of sustainable mobility concepts.

Our drive system strategy for reducing emissions has three components. First, highly efficient combustion engines remain part of the solution for us, and this applies to both gasoline and diesel engines. We are also focusing on additional plug-in-hybrid and electric vehicle models.

We believe that combustion engines will continue to form the backbone of personal mobility until electric vehicles can achieve a breakthrough in the market. This is one of the main reasons why we continue to invest in the improvement of combustion engine technology, thus making a contribution to reducing the fuel consumption and emissions of each and every vehicle. At the same time, we have launched a broad-based electric-mobility offensive at all of our divisions. We are pursuing a holistic approach here. For example, along with partial and fully electric drive systems, we are also investing in fast-charging networks, hydrogen infrastructure and software solutions.

Innovative vehicle and drive-system technologies from Daimler demonstrate what we have already achieved in this regard. The following examples illustrate our approach to the mobility of the future.

Biggest engine offensive in the history of Mercedes-Benz

The new OM 654 four-cylinder diesel engine, which was launched in the new E-Class in 2016, is the first member of the modular engine family that will be utilized across the product range of Mercedes-Benz Cars and also at Mercedes-Benz Vans. Several different output ratings are planned for the engine, which will be installed either longitudinally or transversely in vehicles with front, rear or all-wheel drive. In this way, Mercedes-Benz intends to equip its range of diesel cars in Europe with this engine generation by 2019.

Four more members of the all-new engine family made their debut in 2017: an inline six-cylinder engine (diesel and gasoline variants), a new four-cylinder gasoline engine and a new biturbo V8. Forward-looking new technologies such as the integrated starter-generator (ISG), the 48-volt electrical system and the electric auxiliary compressor also had their world premieres. The ISG is responsible for hybrid functions, such as boost effect and energy recovery, and thus enables fuel savings that were previously typical of high-voltage hybrid technology. Our new S-Class models, which have been delivered to customers since mid-2017, are a particularly good example of how we have been able to increase fuel efficiency even further. For example, the Mercedes-Benz S 350 d 4MATIC (fuel consumption in l/100 km urban: 6.9–6.7/extra-urban: 5.0–4.8/combined: 5.7–5.5; CO2 emissions, combined: 150–145 g/km) with its new six-cylinder diesel engine consumes significantly less fuel than its predecessor, despite higher output, while the Mercedes-Benz S 450 4MATIC (fuel consumption in l/100 km urban: 9.6–9.3/extra-urban: 6.0–5.6/combined: 7.3–7.0; CO2 emissions, combined: 167–159 g/km) achieves outstanding fuel efficiency with the newly developed M 256 six-cylinder gasoline engine.

Fuel-efficient trucks

In recent years, we have also continuously reduced the fuel consumption of our commercial vehicles as well as their CO2 emissions. For example, since 2011, we have been able to reduce the average fuel consumption of the Mercedes-Benz Actros heavy-duty truck by a total of about 15 % compared to the proven Actros predecessor model through the introduction of the new Euro VI model, the Predictive Powertrain Control (PPC) anticipatory cruise control system, our latest generation of engines and the Actros with a second-generation drivetrain, which we presented at the IAA Commercial Vehicles Show in 2016. The new drivetrain technologies will also be used in the Antos and Arocs truck models.

The fact that Mercedes-Benz provides its customers with particularly fuel-efficient vehicles has been demonstrated by the more than 4,000 comparison drives that had been carried out throughout Europe by the end of 2017. In these comparison drives, customers tested Mercedes-Benz trucks in their fleet against vehicles manufactured by the main competitors. The results speak for themselves: The Mercedes-Benz trucks came out on top more than 90 % of the time, with 11 % lower fuel consumption on average.

Our trucks also set the standards for fuel efficiency in North America, where we presented the Freightliner New Cascadia, our flagship in North America, in the fall of 2016. The truck’s aerodynamic shape and state-of-the-art drivetrain components have helped to reduce fuel consumption by up to 8 % compared to the predecessor model, the Cascadia Evolution, which was already an extremely economical vehicle.

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 clear 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.

Daimler AR2017 B.38 Road to emission free mobility

New FUSO Super Great truck sets efficiency standards

With the latest generation of the FUSO flagship, the world’s largest manufacturer of commercial vehicles is setting new standards for efficiency, safety and connectivity in Japan. A range of new technologies has reduced the truck’s fuel consumption by up to 15 %. The powertrain components in the new FUSO Super Great were taken from the current product platforms and were only slightly adjusted to meet the specific requirements of the Japanese market. Daimler Trucks’ global platform strategy enables consistent quality standards, cost benefits through economies of scale, and flexibility in the utilization of production capacity. The 10.7-liter OM470 engine used in the new FUSO Super Great complies with the JP17 emission standard in Japan. It also comes with the HDEP (Heavy Duty Engine Platform) Fuel Efficiency Package and has been further optimized in terms of fuel consumption, emission efficiency and payload compared with the previous drivetrain. Deliveries to customers of the new truck started in May 2017.

Clean and efficient drive technology for buses

Daimler is also very advanced in terms of exhaust aftertreatment 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. Despite the use of this complex exhaust treatment technology, we were able to achieve a further reduction in the fuel consumption of our already economical buses with the application of the new Mercedes-Benz engines. For example, various vehicle optimization measures have led to further significant reductions in the fuel consumption of our touring coaches equipped with the new OM 471 diesel engine, despite higher performance.

The new Mercedes-Benz Tourismo coach is also much more efficient than the predecessor model. Its fuel consumption was reduced primarily through optimized aerodynamics and an all-new and lighter body. New optional extras such as Predictive Powertrain Control (PPC) and Eco Driver Feedback (EDF) enable fuel consumption and thus emissions to be reduced even further.

The Mercedes-Benz Citaro NGT with natural-gas drive is even cleaner and quieter than the already efficient Citaro equipped with the ultra-modern Euro VI diesel engine. Moreover, the Citaro NGT’s all-new M 936 natural-gas engine makes the bus the benchmark in its segment. The Citaro NGT is also even more efficient than its 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 Mercedes-Benz Citaro — an all-electric city bus which Daimler Buses plans to have ready for series production and on the road by the end of 2018.

Mercedes-Benz Citaro NGT | Trailer

Comprehensive electric mobility offensive

Daimler launched a broad-based electric mobility offensive at all of its divisions back in 2016. The models include new plug-in hybrids from Mercedes-Benz Cars, new electric smart models, the DENZA 400, which we developed with our partner BYD for the Chinese market, the new FUSO eCanter and the new GLC pre-series model with fuel cells, which we presented at the Frankfurt Motor Show (IAA) in September 2017. The electric mobility offensive also includes new concept vehicles that offer a clear preview of the future of electric mobility: the Concept EQ, the Concept EQA and the smart vision EQ fortwo, as well as the Mercedes-Benz electric truck and the E-FUSO Vision One truck - both for heavy-duty distribution transport.

Concept EQA | 60 Seconds | IAA 2017

EQ — our electric mobility brand

Mercedes-Benz has consolidated all of its activities in the area of electric mobility into the new EQ product brand. EQ stands for Electric Intelligence, which in turn is derived from the Mercedes-Benz brand values of emotion and intelligence. EQ offers a comprehensive electric mobility ecosystem of products, services, technologies and innovations. The new brand was heralded by the near-production Concept EQ from 2016 and the compact Concept EQA, which was presented at the Frankfurt Motor Show (IAA) in September 2017.

With the Concept EQA study, Mercedes-Benz has shown what an EQ model in the compact-car segment could look like. In combination with the intelligent operating strategy from Mercedes-Benz, the concept car achieves a range of approximately 400 kilometers. The Concept EQA provides a glimpse of the technological future. It can be charged using a wall box and is also prepared for rapid charging. Thanks to an integrated on-board fast charger, it should be possible in the future to charge an electric car in about ten minutes so that it can drive another 100 kilometers.

By 2022, Daimler intends to offer more than ten all-electric models in the passenger-car segment alone: from the smart to a large SUV. The first series-produced battery-electric model under the EQ brand will be launched in the SUV segment before the end of this decade. It will be followed by a model initiative that will gradually expand the product range of Mercedes-Benz Cars with all-electric models. The new generation of electric vehicles will be based on an architecture developed especially for battery-electric models. This architecture is scalable in every respect and can be used in all model series: Wheelbase and track width as well as all other system components, especially the battery, are variable thanks to the modular system.

Broad range of plug-in hybrid cars

Plug-in hybrid vehicles combine the best aspects of combustion engines and electric drive systems. This helps to reduce overall consumption and increase performance, as the electric motor is used to take over from or support the combustion engine in situations where the latter is less efficient. With eight plug-in hybrid models, we already offer a broad range of plug-in hybrid vehicles in the premium segment. Our powerful battery already enables all-electric driving. The battery can be recharged externally. The new S-Class with hybrid drive, which we plan to launch in 2018, already has an all-electric range of up to 50 kilometers. We aim to achieve significantly longer ranges for plug-in hybrids as technological advances are made. This will enable our customers to drive locally emission-free to a very large extent in everyday situations. In such a setup, the combustion engine is used for longer distances, which means our plug-in hybrids are perfect for any driving requirement. We believe that plug-in hybrid technology will be extremely successful as we move into the next decade, and that is why hybrid systems are a key component of our drive-system strategy.

The use of 48-volt on-board electrical systems enables hybrid functions ranging from energy recovery and boost effect to initial acceleration and maneuvering in the all-electric mode. This means that such functions can be used for the first time without high-voltage components, which eliminates the need for the additional safety equipment that normally has to be used in high-voltage networks. This enables us to noticeably reduce the fuel consumption of our high-volume models and to offer customers greater agility and comfort.

E-Class plug-in hybrid impressive in environmental audit

In February 2017, the Mercedes-Benz E 350 e plug-in hybrid model (fuel consumption in l/100 km, combined: 2.1; CO2 emissions in g/km: 49; electricity consumption in kWh/100 km: 11.5) successfully completed the TÜV validation audit for the German Environmental Certificate. This certificate is awarded on the basis of a lifecycle assessment in which independent experts at the TÜV Süd technical inspection authority assess the integration of environmental aspects into the product design and development process, as well as the environmental impact of a car throughout its entire life cycle.

The E 350 e also makes a big impression in other areas besides driving. For example, during its lifecycle (material manufacture, production, driving for 250,000 kilometers calculated with certified consumption figures and recycling) and when the hybrid model is charged externally with the European electricity mix, the vehicle emits around 44 % less CO2 than the predecessor model, the E 350 CGI, which has comparable performance data and a conventional engine. If the calculation is based on the use of renewable energy for external charging, CO2 emissions can be reduced by 63 %. The picture is much the same in terms of energy consumption, as the E 350 e consumes 31 %/48 % less primary energy over all of its lifecycle phases.

Preproduction phase begins for the GLC F-CELL

With the unveiling of the two GLC F-CELL preproduction cars at the Frankfurt Motor Show in 2017, Daimler presented yet another milestone on the road to emission-free driving. The GLC F-Cell is a fuel-cell electric car using a lithium-ion battery as an additional energy source that can be externally charged by means of plug-in technology. Intelligent interplay between the battery and the fuel cells, as well as a short refueling time, will make the GLC F-CELL a practical vehicle for long-distance travel in the future. The preproduction model carries 4.4 kilograms of hydrogen on board and produces enough energy to achieve a range of more than 400 kilometers in the New European Driving Cycle (NEDC). Daimler has developed a completely new fuel-cell system for this world first. Compared to the B-Class F-CELL, which has been on the market since 2010 (fuel consumption: 0.97 kg Hâ‚‚/100 km; COâ‚‚ emissions, combined: 0 g/km), the overall drive system offers around 40 percent more output. The fuel-cell system is around 30 percent more compact than before; it can be housed entirely in the engine compartment for the first time, and is installed on the usual mounting points like a conventional engine. In addition, the use of platinum in the fuel cells has been reduced by 90 percent, which conserves resources and also lowers system costs — without any compromises in terms of performance.

To date, fuel-cell vehicles from Mercedes-Benz, which include the B-Class F-CELL and the Mercedes-Benz Citaro FuelCELL Hybrid city bus, have driven more than 18 million kilometers and have thus demonstrated the market maturity of this drive configuration. The pre-series version of the GLC F-CELL represents a further milestone on the road to series-produced fuel-cell vehicles. Market-specific sales concepts, including the option of a rental model, are currently being evaluated.

smart vision EQ fortwo: car sharing for the city of tomorrow

At the Frankfurt Motor Show in September 2017, the smart brand presented the smart vision EQ fortwo, offering a preview of car sharing in the future. The concept car is our vision of the form future urban mobility might take. As a fully autonomous vehicle connected in swarms with other cars in the fleet, the smart vision EQ fortwo could move on its own through a city and drive to locations where it is needed at a given time. The electric car could be equipped with a 30kWh lithium-ion battery that is recharged autonomously and inductively. It would do this by driving to one of many hub stations located around a city. Vehicles not in use could store energy, and a bidirectional charging system would allow cars with surplus energy to return it to the power grid. In this manner, smart is assuming responsibility for an important function for the energy transition.

Electric trucks for heavy-duty distribution transportation

In July 2016, we became one of the first commercial vehicle manufacturer to present an all-electric truck for heavy-duty distribution transportation. The planned key specifications of this Mercedes-Benz vehicle are as follows: a battery output of 212 kWh, a range of up to 200 kilometers and a payload of 12.8 metric tons with a gross vehicle weight of 26 metric tons.

Our electric truck concept met with a very positive response, as evidenced by the many inquiries we received from our customers after we presented the truck at the IAA Commercial Vehicles Show in October 2016. We forged ahead with the development, establishment and testing of our Customer Innovation Fleet in 2017. In 2018, we intend to begin practical tests of our Mercedes-Benz Electric Truck Innovation Fleet for heavy-duty distribution transportation with customers under real-life conditions. These tests will allow us to gain further knowledge about logistics processes and operating costs with electric trucks. The results will be incorporated into new business models for all-electric trucks for heavy-duty distribution transportation within cities.

All-electric trucks are a component of Daimler Trucks’ comprehensive electric offensive, which includes the light-duty FUSO eCanter, which we launched in a small production series on a global scale in July 2017. The first 150 vehicles are destined for selected customers in Europe, Japan and the United States.

We plan to deliver more than 500 of these trucks to customers over the coming years. All the experience we gain with the small production series will flow into the further development of the battery-electric Canter, with plans for volume production to begin in 2019. The eCanter can make a contribution to reducing noise in large cities.

During the Tokyo Motor Show in October 2017, Daimler announced that it will completely electrify its full range of FUSO trucks and buses in the years ahead. With E-FUSO, we are now the first truck manufacturer to launch a product brand for electric mobility with trucks and buses. The E-FUSO Vision One, which was presented for the first time in Tokyo, is a concept for an all-electric heavy-duty truck with a GVW of approximately 23 metric tons and a payload of around 11 metric tons — which is only two tons less than the payload of the diesel version. With a battery capacity of 300 kWh, the E-FUSO Vision One has a range of up to 350 kilometers. One potential application for the electric heavy-duty truck is regional inner-city and intra-city distribution. Growing customer interest, the development of the necessary infrastructure, and new regulatory measures are promoting the electrification of road transport. In this situation, it may be possible to launch the series-produced version of the E-FUSO Vision One within the next four years in highly developed markets such as Japan or Europe.

In the future, Daimler plans to offer its commercial vehicle customers a comprehensive lineup of battery-electric vehicles ranging from vans and light trucks to heavy-duty distribution trucks and electric city buses.

Electric vehicles from Mercedes-Benz Vans

Mercedes-Benz Vans plans to offer all of its commercial van models with electric drive systems. This has already started with the mid-size eVito, which has been available for ordering since the end of November 2017; deliveries are scheduled to start in the second half of 2018. The eVito is the second all-electric production model from Mercedes-Benz Vans; the first was the Vito E-Cell from 2010. With an installed battery capacity of 41.4 kWh, the new eVito will have a range of up to 150 kilometers. Even under unfavorable conditions, such as low outside temperatures and with a full payload, the van will have a range of up to 100 km. The mid-size van is thus perfect for inner-city deliveries and other commercial operations, as well as for passenger transport. The battery can be fully charged in around six hours, and dynamic performance is ensured by an output of 84 kW and torque of up to 300 Nm. In terms of top speed, customers can choose between two options: The first is a maximum speed of 80 km/h, which meets all requirements in city traffic and metropolitan areas, while also conserving energy and increasing the vehicle’s range. If things need to move faster, the customer can choose a top speed of up to 120 km/h. The electric Vito is to be followed by the eSprinter in 2019; the electric van product range will then be rounded out by the Citan.

The holistic electric drive strategy at Mercedes-Benz Vans focuses not only on the electric van itself, but also on a technological ecosystem that is optimally aligned with customers’ business needs. This holistic strategy provides for an innovative complete system solution that covers the entire value chain for commercial applications. For this reason, strategic partners and their sector expertise are being incorporated into the development process at an early stage. One example of this is our partnership with the Hermes logistics services company. This partnership was launched with pilot programs in Hamburg and Stuttgart at the beginning of 2018. After those programs are completed, we want to spread the application of the electric fleet, which is to be used for parcel deliveries and encompass a total of 1,500 electric Vito and Sprinter vans by 2020, to other urban areas. The strategic partnership also involves the joint development of a concept for an efficient charging infrastructure at Hermes logistics centers, as well as IT services to ensure optimum management of the electric fleet.

Intelligent charging solutions for electric mobility

For the electrification of the drivetrain, we are employing a holistic approach that includes both electric vehicles and a broad range of services needed for electric mobility. Our approach ranges from the provision of green electricity to intelligent charging solutions for the home that include customized services and home energy storage units operating in tandem with photovoltaic units on roofs, for example.

In March 2017, Daimler acquired an equity interest in the American charging solutions provider, ChargePoint Inc. This investment ensures the Group’s access to other customer-focused electric mobility services. ChargePoint offers solutions for every segment of the electric mobility charging ecosystem, which includes companies, the retail sector, public institutions, fleet customers and private households. In terms of technology, ChargePoint makes use of the standardized Combined Charging System (CCS) in Europe, which will enable it to offer maximum compatibility for future electric vehicle models of all brands.

With the establishment of the IONITY joint venture, the BMW Group, Daimler, Ford Motor Company and the Volkswagen Group with Audi and Porsche have laid the foundation for the creation of the most effective rapid-charging network for electric vehicles in Europe. The goal is to install about 400 rapid-charging stations along major routes in Europe by 2020.

Our vision of accident-free driving

Vehicle safety is one of our core areas of expertise and a key component of our product strategy. The Mercedes-Benz brand has been shaping the development of safety systems for decades. The company’s innovations, especially those for protecting vehicle occupants and other road users, have saved countless lives. Today, Daimler continues to set standards with regard to safety. Our vision of accident-free driving will continue to motivate us to make mobility as safe as possible for everyone in the future.

Partially automated driving in the upgraded S-Class

With the upgraded S-Class, Mercedes-Benz has taken a further step toward autonomous driving. For example, new and modified features have been added to the DISTRONIC active proximity control and the Active Steering Assist systems. Another highlight in the new S-Class is the route-based speed adaptation system, which uses map and navigation data to control handling. With these and other intelligent equipment features, the new luxury sedan marks another major step toward autonomous driving. Improved systems with a range of up to 250 meters enable even more comfortable automated driving on all types of roads. In addition, Mercedes-Benz uses Active Body Control with ROAD SURFACE SCAN system and the CURVE curve-tilting function to improve ride comfort even further with the help of intelligent sensors.

Cooperation with Bosch

During the year under review, we entered into a partnership with Bosch that focuses on the joint development of software and algorithms for a highly automated driving system. The objective here is to bring highly automated and driverless driving to city streets by the beginning of the next decade. The project combines the comprehensive vehicle expertise of Daimler with the system and hardware expertise of the world's biggest automotive supplier. The resulting synergies are expected to lead to the early series production of a safe and secure technology.

By introducing highly automated and driverless driving to the urban environment, Bosch and Daimler aim to improve the flow of traffic in cities, enhance safety on the road and provide an important building block for the traffic system of the future. Among other things, the technology will enhance the appeal of car sharing. It will also allow people to make the best possible use of their time in cars and will open up new mobility opportunities for people without a driver’s license, for example. The main objective is to develop a production-ready system that will enable cars to drive in highly automated mode in cities. The idea here is that the vehicle should come to the driver, rather than the other way round. Within a predefined area of a city, customers will be able to order a car-sharing vehicle or a robot taxi with their smartphones; the vehicle will then drive driverless to the user’s location.

X-ray vision for crash tests

The Mercedes-Benz Vehicle Safety unit is cooperating with various partners from the fields of research and industry on the use of ultra-fast X-ray technology to examine specific areas of the vehicle body and the interior during a crash test. The X-ray images can be combined with computer-aided simulation models to improve the forecasting reliability of crash simulations. In addition to analyzing the deformation of vehicle bodies and components, the goal here is to develop alternative passenger restraint concepts. Interdisciplinary teams in the project are addressing the challenges of new mobility systems — for example, the issue of passive safety in conditionally automated driving systems.

Active Brake Assist 4

An active emergency braking system with pedestrian recognition that can prevent many accidents and protect more vulnerable road users is being used for the first time in Mercedes-Benz trucks. It will also be introduced in Mercedes-Benz and Setra touring coaches in 2018. The new Active Brake Assist 4 (ABA 4) system with pedestrian recognition uses acoustic and visual signals to warn the driver of a potential collision with pedestrians, in which case it also automatically triggers partial braking.

Active Brake Assist 4 with pedestrian recognition is based on a new generation of radar technology that is also used in current Mercedes-Benz car models. This electronically scanning multi-mode system uses both long and short-range radar. The long-range radar detects vehicles in multiple lanes and stationary obstacles at a distance of up to 250 meters in a direct line in front of the coach. It also registers single-track vehicles, such as bicycles, at a distance of up to 160 meters, and pedestrians at up to 80 meters. The short-range radar has a maximum range of 70 meters and can even recognize pedestrians and vehicles in front of the coach but at each side of it.

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 that begins with the underlying factors with 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.

A vehicle’s environmental impact is largely decided in the first stages of development. The earlier we integrate environmentally responsible product development (design for environment or DfE) into the development process, the more efficiently we can minimize the impact on the environment. (See Environmental matters)

Car CO2 emissions: 125 g/km

Daimler makes great efforts to reduce the fuel consumption of its vehicles while enhancing their performance — thus increasing driving pleasure 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 EU 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 123 g/km in 2016 as well, despite a shift in our sales structure toward medium-sized and large automobiles. Emissions rose to 125 g/km in 2017, primarily due to a further increase in the proportion of sales in the EU accounted for by vehicles with high levels of optional equipment. More detailed information can be found in the “Non-Financial Report” section of this Annual Report. (See Environmental matters)

Plan for the future of diesel vehicles

We are convinced that diesel engines will continue to be a firm element of the drive-system mix, not least due to their low CO2 emissions. The public debate surrounding diesel engines is leading to increasing uncertainty among customers, however. For this reason, the Daimler Board of Management approved a comprehensive plan for diesel engines in July 2017.

The plan calls for an expansion of the current voluntary service measures for vehicles in customers’ hands, as well as the rapid market launch of a completely new diesel engine family. As early as March 2017, Mercedes-Benz began offering its compact-class customers an improvement in NOx emissions for one engine variant. In order to effectively reduce the emissions of other model series, the Daimler Board of Management decided in July to extend the service measures to include more than three million Mercedes-Benz vehicles. The measures are being carried out for most Euro 5 and Euro 6 vehicles in Europe and other markets in close cooperation with vehicle registration authorities. Daimler is investing around €285 million in these measures. The service measures are being implemented at no charge to customers. The company is also carrying out voluntary service measures for V-Class customers. Additional measures were added to the package following a summit meeting between the government and the automotive industry in August 2017. Additional information on this topic can be found in the “Non-Financial Report” section of this Annual Report. (See Environmental matters)

Conservation of resources: Consistently high recyclability

To make our vehicles more environmentally friendly, we are working to continuously reduce the resources our automobiles consume over their entire lifecycles.

During vehicle development, we also prepare a recycling concept in which all components and materials are examined with a view to their suitability for the various stages of the recycling process. As a result, all Mercedes-Benz car models are 85 percent recyclable and 95 percent recoverable.

The key aspects of our activities in this area are:

  • the resale of tested and certified used parts through the Mercedes-Benz Used Parts Center,
  • the remanufacturing of used parts, and
  • the workshop waste disposal system MeRSy (Mercedes-Benz Recycling System).

Environmental protection in production

Our commitment to the environment is an integral component of our corporate strategy, which focuses on increasing the value of the company over the long term. For this reason, we have established environmental management systems at our manufacturing facilities with the goal of ensuring that we can produce our vehicles safely, efficiently, at a high level of quality and in an environmentally friendly manner that complies with all legal stipulations. We also carry out environmental risk assessments at all production locations in which the Group has a majority interest in the ownership structure. We have achieved a high level of air quality control, climate protection and resource conservation (in terms of water consumption, waste management and soil conservation), and we maintain this high level with the help of Daimler Group standards. The environmental and energy-related guidelines approved by the Board of Management define the environmental and energy-related policy of the Daimler Group. The guidelines also express our commitment to integrated environmental protection that begins with the assessment of the causes of environment problems and takes into account the environmental effects of production processes and products as early as the planning and development phases. Additional information on this topic can be found in the “Non-Financial Report” section of this Annual Report.

Research and development