Mercedes-Benz plans to halve the carbon dioxide emissions per passenger car by the end of this decade by electrifying its fleet, installing charging infrastructure that uses green energy, improving battery technology and using recycled materials and renewable energy in production.
The automaker says it is committed to a faster transition of electric vehicles and will supply more than 70% of its energy needs through renewable sources by 2030 by installing solar and wind power at its own sites as well as through power purchase agreements. Mercedes announced these plans at its first digital Environment, Social and Governance Conference for investors and analysts.
Based on commitments made at last year’s COP26 climate conference and the industry as a whole ramping up car and battery production, Mercedes says it will continue to push for quick implementation of electric vehicles to become carbon neutral. The company aims to make up to 50% of its vehicles battery electric or plug-in hybrid by 2025 with a move to all electric by 2030.
Mercedes currently offers six all-electric vehicles with three more models in the works.
The company says biggest key to reducing carbon emissions is the battery. Mercedes says electric rates, the supply chain and overall production can account for more than half of the emissions from a battery’s life.
By transitioning to CO2-neutral cell production, emissions from producing a battery pack can be cut by 20%, according to the company. Other cuts can be made by improving the anode and cathode production process.
Mercedes is in the process of developing and industrializing technologies to make such improvements and to increase the efficiency and power of batteries.
Additionally, Mercedes is building a carbon neutral battery recycling facility, which it says it will use a hydrometallurgical process that will increase the recycling rate of materials to 96%. The facility is expected to be completed by 2023 and will have the capacity to recycle 2,500 tons of batteries a year.
Using green steel to make vehicles is another part of the carbon neutral plan. Mercedes began working with H2 Green Steel last year and plans to have green steel in a number of its models as early as 2025.
A number of automakers plan to use green steel in their production, including efforts by Volvo and BMW. Mercedes is also sourcing primary aluminum that is certified by the Aluminum Stewardship Initiative to ensure raw materials are responsibly sourced.
The company is also increasing the number of recycled materials in its production. It says it is using recycled plastic bottles for seat upholstery, floor coverings made from yarn recovered from fish nets and fabric from old carpet, and cabling from recycled landfill waste. Overall, Mercedes plans to increase the recycled materials in its automobiles by 40% through 2030.
Mercedes has plans to significantly increase charging infrastructure, which is seen as key to successful fleet transitions. Mercedes offers green charging with 300,000 public charging points in its Mercedes me Charge network throughout Europe, which also helps provide electricity from renewable sources back into the grid.