Just before the German government moved to zero net emission ambition in 2050, Daimler’s new CEO Ola Källenius announced new commitments to make its entire passenger car fleet carbon neutral by the close of 2039, changing  its entire annual production of 2.4 million cars,  plants around the world and its supply chain in less than 20 years., including its Factory 56 in Sindelfingen, Germany

“Let’s be clear what this means for us: a fundamental transformation of our company within less than three product cycles. That’s not much time when you consider that fossil fuels have dominated our business since the invention of the car by Carl Benz and Gottlieb Daimler some 130 years ago,” Källenius said. “The transformation to a sustainable mobility of the future will only succeed if the auto industry, energy suppliers and policy makers are working hand in hand. Carbon-neutral energy and a comprehensive infrastructure are indispensable for this system change,” Källenius said. “And we are open to a discussion on effective CO2 pricing as well as incentives for low/no carbon technology – preferably on a global scale.”

In 2018, Daimler made strong commitments to electrify its range with an investment of $11.7 billion, stating that by 2022 it would bring more than ten all-electric vehicles (EVs) to market and electrify its entire Mercedes‑Benz portfolio. By 2030 Daimler aims to have electric models make up more than half of its total car sales, including all-electric models and plug-in hybrids. In addition to cars, Daimler also aims to electrify its vans, trucks and buses, by rapidly transferring technology between the divisions. The company is focusing on battery electric mobility, but is also pursuing other solutions, including fuel cells or even eFuels as an option.

As part of the latest commitment, Daimler is striving for carbon-neutral production, using its , or its engine factory in Jawor, Poland, as good examples of how to use renewable energy and start carbon-neutral from the beginning. The company is moving from a value chain to a value cycle; Mercedes cars have a potential-recycling ratio of 85%. Plus Daimler is working with suppliers to strive towards carbon neutrality.

To date over $150 billion in automotive  investments have been announced totalling of more than 13 million EVs annually around 2025, according to the ICCT, though much more could be in the pipeline:
– Volkswagen is  to launch 70 fully electric models by 2028, up from an earlier pledge to sell 50 by 2025 and to move the entire company to CO2-neutral by 2050,
– Audi showed only EV ‘s in March 2019 Geneva Motor Show  four new fully electric models,
– Volvo committed to phase out pure gasoline cars after 2019, focusing on electric or hybrid models only:  Volvo’s Chinese owner Geely committed to 90% new energy vehicles by 2020.

In the first quarter of this year, new EV sales in Europe exceeded 100,000 for the first time (125,400), in China 254,000, a 118% increaseyear-on-year. EV100 – a global business initiative designed to fast-track the uptake of electric vehicles and infrastructure, launched by The Climate Group. To date, 39 companies have joined EV100, including the world’s leading auto leasing company LeasePlan and the global logistics company Deutsche Post DHL Group.

The UK, France, Norway and Sweden have all committed to phasing out petrol and diesel-powered light passenger vehicles completely by the end of the 2030s. India like the Netherlands  aim to have every vehicle sold in the country powered by electricity by 2030 and China has increasing sales quotas for EVs – starting at 10% for 2019. In the EU, new limits on carbon dioxide emissions will take effect from 2021, and increase in 2025 and 2030. Already 26 cities, states, and businesses unveiled plans last year to deploy zero emission vehicle fleets, with the #ZEVChallenge, led by The Climate Group, C40 Cities and the Under2 Coalition.

Together, these policy moves, coupled with the demand signals from consumers, improving technology with reducing costs and strong supply signals from companies such as Daimler, are helping to accelerate the rapid transition to the zero-carbon transport system in the 2030s.

This is exactly the kind of systems disruption needed to deliver the goals of the Paris Agreement. Companies and countries that fail to match this ambition by setting a clear date for zero-carbon mobility in the 2030s will be the losers in this inevitable transition.