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Mercedes-Benz Walks Back 2030 Deadline for Full Electrification

Mercedes has decided going all-in on EVs isn't the safe bet it once was

2024 Mercedes-Maybach EQS 680 SUV
  • Mercedes' CEO says electrification won't be "100% in 2030, obviously."
  • The automaker will instead let buyers and the market decide what powers Mercedes cars.
  • Mercedes initially pleged to sell only electric vehicles by 2030.

Three years ago, Mercedes-Benz said that by 2030, the brand with the three-pointed star would only sell EVs or PHEVs. But Mercedes left itself a loophole, and its statement at the time said it would do so “where markets allowed.” Now, Mercedes has exercised that "get out of only EVs free" card. In its fourth-quarter earnings statement, Mercedes predicts that just 50% of its sales will be all-electric, and CEO Ola Källenius told Reuters: “It’s not going to be 100% in 2030, obviously ... from the whole European market, but probably from the Mercedes side as well.”

Instead, Mercedes says that “customers and market conditions will set the pace of the transformation.” In 2024, at least, “market conditions” aren’t looking great for EVs. Per The Verge, both Rivian and Lucid are expecting flat sales trajectories. Another Reuters story cites another issue: affordability. In the U.S. and over in Europe, the EV market is aimed toward wealthier buyers, and more affordable options, for the moment, are far less prevalent here in the States. Certainly, none of the EVs Mercedes sells could be billed as truly "affordable." In Germany, government subsidies that aided EV adoption ceased as of December 18, 2023. 

Still, some paint a slightly rosier picture. Forbes cites Matt Schmidt of Schmidt Automotive Research, who says that while sales will be stagnant this year, automakers can expect things to look up in 2025. Hybrid sales have also seen an increase, which could also have resulted in Mercedes’ reconsidered position on electric-car totality.

Edmunds says

It isn’t surprising at all that Mercedes-Benz has walked back a flashy statement made years ago with a gaping loophole left in it. European outlook on EVs is a mixed bag at best, and adopting a more patient strategy instead of making headlines with big claims feels like a solid decision.