Climate protection

Target

The Paris accord on climate protection aims to limit global warming to significantly less than two degrees Celsius compared with the preindustrial level. It requires a significant intensification of measures, in particular more stringent CO2 targets for all countries and sectors. We are in the process of deriving specific targets for all of our business divisions regarding the reduction of our products’ CO2 emissions. These targets refer to the period until 2030 and will be binding on the Daimler Group worldwide.

Our current reduction target for driving operation (tank-to-wheel) is -44 % (2007 – 2021) for cars in the new-vehicle fleet in Europe. We are steadily continuing our efforts to reach this target.

Measures

Our goal is to also safeguard mobility for the generations to come. That is why we strive to offer our customers safe, efficient and low-emission vehicles and services. A core element of our approach here is to achieve a drive-system mix that is tailored to the market requirements. 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:

  • further development of our vehicles equipped with state-of-the-art combustion engines in order to achieve significant reductions in consumption and emissions,
  • further efficiency increase through hybridization, and
  • electric vehicles with battery and fuel-cell drive.

Due diligence processes

An environmental protection guideline passed by the Board of Management formulates our approach: We develop products that are especially environmentally friendly and energy-efficient in their respective market segments. A vehicle’s environmental impact is largely decided during the first stages of its development. The earlier we integrate environmentally responsible product development (Design for Environment, DfE) into the development process, the more efficiently we can minimize the impact on the environment. That is why continuous improvements in environmental compatibility are a major requirement in the creation of the product performance specifications. For every vehicle model and every engine variant, we have requirement specifications that define the characteristics and target values that must be achieved. These specifications include requirements concerning fuel consumption and emissions limit values for CO2 and nitrogen oxides. During the development process we regularly monitor compliance with these specifications.

In a committee situated directly below the Board of Management level, the managers responsible for each vehicle model series evaluate the results of this monitoring process and decide on any necessary corrective measures. If corrections are needed, the managing body of the respective division is included in the decision-making. If the situation continues to escalate, the responsible member of the Board of Management is also included.

The CO2 process in vehicle development

All of the divisions integrate all vehicle-related goals, including those that are relevant to the environment, into their vehicle development process according to a similar pattern. The chart E.01 shows the Mercedes-Benz Development System (MDS) as an example. In many markets there are fleet targets for the fuel consumption and CO2 emissions of cars and light commercial vehicles — in other words, overall targets for all the new vehicles sold in a given market. The corresponding controlling process for reaching the CO2 fleet consumption target for Cars Europe (EU 28) is shown as an example.

Daimler AR2018 E.01 Vehicle product creation process for individual vehicles.png

The key factors for determining the target values for fuel consumption and CO2 emissions are the technological possibilities, the legal requirements including the fleet targets for fuel consumption, and customer wishes. The body responsible for complying with these goals and for transparency regarding the target attainment level is the CO2 steering committee, which is headed by the Board of Management member responsible for Group Research and Mercedes-Benz Cars Development.

The fleet values for CO2 emissions are calculated on the basis of the fuel economy numbers of the vehicles available on the market and the fuel economy specifications and prognoses for vehicles that are still in the development phase. These values are combined with the sales forecasts in order to arrive at the projected fleet values for CO2 emissions.

The actual values may deviate from the projected target values because of various external factors such as alterations in the sales structure, changes in the political framework conditions or changes in the fuel consumption target values of the vehicles that are still in the development phase. In case of a deviation, the CO2 steering committee organizes an assessment of various options and then decides on the measures to be initiated. If the need for adjustment is especially urgent, the process is escalated to the responsible managing body. From a strategic standpoint, this process takes place over a period of approximately ten years.

Result

In the year under review, the average CO2 emissions of the total fleet of Mercedes-Benz Cars in Europe (EU28+Iceland) increased to 132 (2017: 125) g/km (NEDC).

The transition from the NEDC to the WLTP as the legally stipulated CO2 emission measurement cycle for individual vehicles has led to a significant increase in our fleet emission values. At the same time, the shift of sales from vehicles with diesel engines to cars powered by gasoline engines, as well as a further increase in sales of large SUVs and all-wheel-drive vehicles, have contributed to a higher CO2 value for our fleet.

Because all vehicle models will have been certified in accordance with the WLTP by September 2019, we expect only a slightly lower CO2 value for our fleet in 2019, in spite of further progress in reducing our vehicles’ fuel consumption. Our vehicle electrification measures are expected to lead to a significant decrease in our fleet’s CO2 emissions in 2020.

The new WLTP test cycle. Since September 2017, all of our new car types in Europe have been certified according to the Worldwide Harmonized Light Vehicles Test Procedure (WLTP). This test procedure includes numerous changes compared to the previous New European Driving Cycle (NEDC). The changes include higher average and maximum speeds, more dynamic handling, gliding inertial masses instead of inertia classes, a smaller standstill share of total fuel consumption, and consideration of special equipment and the quiescent current requirement. Overall, these changes are leading to more realistic, but also higher, fuel economy values.

According to the legal requirements, until 2021 automakers must calculate the CO2 emissions of their vehicle fleets in Europe by using a predefined formula to convert the vehicles’ WLTP values back into NEDC values. This explains why every new vehicle is certified according to the WLTP although the European CO2 emission value of the automaker’s fleet is still indicated as the NEDC value. The legislators want to ensure the comparability of the automakers’ fleet values in the period until 2022, when a new limit value will come into force.

We continue to work hard to meet all statutory CO2 requirements, including the very challenging EU limits for 2021. However, reaching these fleet targets will depend not only on offering appealing and highly efficient vehicles with electric drives, but also on our customers’ actually deciding to buy those models. In order to optimally position ourselves in this respect, we are systematically changing over our product range to the latest engine generations, and are also systematically electrifying our portfolio with plug-in hybrids and all-electric vehicles.

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