PARIS Daimler's Mercedes-Benz and Smart brands will launch more than 10 electric cars by 2025, and zero-emission vehicles will make up between 15 percent and 25 percent of overall Mercedes sales by then, Chief Executive Dieter Zetsche said.
Speaking to journalists at the Paris Motor Show on Thursday, Zetsche said the automaker was preparing a major push in pure electric vehicles thanks to advances in battery technology and greater consumer acceptance of zero-emissions vehicles.
A new generation of electric vehicles will be sold under the "EQ" brand, and based on a new technical architecture developed specifically for battery-electric models, the company said.
In addition, Daimler has set up a digital technologies division called CASE to incorporate connected cars, autonomous driving, car sharing and electric vehicles.
"Connectivity, autonomous driving, sharing and electric drive systems – each of these four trends has the potential to turn our industry on its head. Yet the real revolution lies in intelligently linking the four trends," Zetsche said at a Mercedes-Benz press conference in Paris.
"We have the competence and the ability, and we cannot buy the technology from suppliers which does not yet exist," he added, explaining Daimler had little choice but to develop the technology in-house if it wanted to be a leading player. "We believe this is a unique selling point and we cannot be ahead if we appoint a camera manufacturer to be our lead developer," Zetsche said, in a thinly veiled swipe at rival BMW, which recently announced a development partnership for autonomous cars with Mobileye.
Daimler said it would launch a peer-to-peer car sharing service, which would allow customers to unlock and start the car using just their mobile phone.
(Reporting by Edward Taylor; Editing by Victoria Bryan and Mark Potter)