Daimler CEO expects solid returns from flagship EV

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Daimler’s new flagship electric sedan will generate “reasonable” returns right from the start as the vehicle features top-line technology, CEO Ola Kallenius said.

The Mercedes EQS, which debuts this week, will produce attractive profits while still lagging the returns of its combustion engine-powered sibling, the S-Class, due to the higher cost of electric-car components, Kallenius said in an interview with Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung.

“The logic remains the same: the top segment promises the best profit margin,” he told the German newspaper.

The EQS will be the first Mercedes built on dedicated electric-car underpinnings, marking a milestone for the German brand that has been criticized for taking too long to embrace EVs.

The Telsa Model S rival will offer a driving range of 770 km (478 miles), putting the vehicle ahead in the electric-car race, Kallenius said.

Automakers are stepping up their game to catch up with battery-vehicle leader Tesla and a host of other newcomers with valuations that have vaulted past those of many long-established manufacturers.

Volkswagen Group last month announced plans to become the new global EV sales leader no later than 2025, while General Motors has said it will quit making combustion-engine cars by 2035.

Daimler may hit a target to make its fleet carbon neutral by 2039 faster than expected, said Kallenius, who announced the goal two years ago.

“This will likely happen faster given the dynamic pace we are seeing today,” he said.

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