Daimler, who owns Mercedes-Benz, say they want all their passenger cars to be ‘carbon-neutral’ by 2039 and for electric or hybrid cars to make up 50% of its passenger car sales by 2030.
The German firm is the 13th largest car manufacturer in the world and produced over 3.3 million vehicles in 2018, the majority being petrol and diesel.
However, they say they say emissions-free mobility is essential to prevent the further acceleration of climate change.
Daimler chairman Ola Källenius said it will require an ‘a fundamental transformation of our company within less than three product cycles,
‘Our customers expect us to deliver sustainable and fascinating mobility,’ he added.
Daimler’s target does not apply to its freight sales such as vans, trucks and buses.
The current target set by the UK government is to end the sales of conventional petrol and diesel cars by 2040. Other countries such as Germany, Ireland, India and the Netherlands have set the more ambitious target of 2030.
Källenius also said the company will strive for carbon-neutral production, with all their European factories powered by renewable energy by 2022.
However, he warned the company’s sustainable vision will only succeed if the auto industry, energy suppliers and policymakers are working ‘hand in hand.’
‘It requires massive investments and tangible action also beyond the auto sector,’ he said.
‘Carbon-neutral energy and a comprehensive infrastructure are indispensable for this system change.
‘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,’ he said.
Källenius confirmed their current focus is on battery-electric cars but they are also looking at other low-emission alternatives such as hydrogen fuel cell and eFuels.
Responding to the news, Helen Clarkson, CEO, The Climate Group said the automotive industry must take full responsibility in tackling climate change and cutting emissions.
‘It’s clear that the end of the road for the internal combustion engine is in sight. We now need more company fleets and car manufacturers to keep following the signs and go all in on electric mobility,’ she said.