Mercedes-Benz commits to an electrified future

The next-generation Mercedes-Benz fuel cell electric vehicle: Mercedes-Benz GLC F-CELL prototype

The world's oldest car company is set to spend over €7 billion on making its cars greener, starting with its Smart range of city cars.

On Monday, Daimler-Benz announced that at this year's Paris Motor Show it will be revealing plug-in electric versions of each car in its current Smart lineup - from the Fortwo to the Forfour and the Fortwo cabriolet.

The new additions will make Smart the first car company to offer a full electric variant of every model in its existing range. And the battery-powered city cars will be followed by the Mercedes GLC F-Cell, a hydrogen fuel cell-powered SUV that uses a plug-in electric battery to extend its range further in early 2017.

But, according to Prof Dr Thomas Weber, Member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG, Group Research and Mercedes-Benz Cars Development, this is just the start.

"We will invest 14.5 billion euro in research and development in the next two years alone -- more than half of it will again be spent on ‘green' technologies. Just for our passenger cars, we are talking about 5.4 billion euro," he said.

The company is developing particulate filters for its gasoline engines alongside 48-volt operating systems which will boost their efficiency to new levels and in 2017 will bring the first plug-in hybrid car to market capable of traveling over 50km on battery power alone.

"We are investing massively in electromobility, and we are convinced that the market is now ready. With the new vehicles we offer, we want to impress the benefits of the new mobility on car owners who have not yet opted for an electric vehicle," said Prof Dr Weber.