Mercedes is charging towards an electric future with a smattering of enthusiasm. And if the brand's recent parade of EVs in Munich is anything to go by, it's clearly confident of transitioning from its current electric-first policy to being electric-only by 2030 as planned. Its full EV catalogue is growing by the day, with the recently-unveiled EQE joining the likes of the EQC, EQS, EQB and EQV, with a host of other plug-in hybrids bridging the gap between old-school ICE motoring and full-on electrification.
If you think a market as sheltered from the need to go electric as Malaysia will be spared from such a paradigm shift, think again; you might just be able to buy one of the aforementioned EVs from a local dealership sooner than you think.
In a virtual roundtable with Malaysian journalists, Mercedes-Benz Malaysia (MBM) president and CEO Sagree Sardien confirmed that the company is looking for opportunities to 'localise electric vehicles where it makes financial and economical sense'.
"We also need to look through the charging infrastructure and this, in our opinion, is not just a Mercedes-Benz challenge. It is an industry-wide challenge. And there are several stakeholders that need to be involved from the authorities to the OEMs and the entire supply chain," explained Sardien, who admits that Mercedes has some catching up to do to stay ahead of the EV game in Malaysia.
Sagree Sardien, President and CEO of Mercedes-Benz Malaysia
"Yes, we are slightly behind the curve. And maybe our adoption rate is slightly lower. But it is still our intention to ensure that we go all-electric at some point here in Malaysia."
Michael Jopp, Vice President of Sales and Marketing
"Obviously there will be an end. But the end is not tomorrow. We have an exciting period in between to manage that transition in conjunction with the development in Malaysia."
Although this all but confirms that Mercedes-Benz will eventually become a fully-electric brand in Malaysia some day, regardless of whether the 2030 global target is met, MBM's Vice President of Sales and Marketing Michael Jopp insists that there are still some exciting developments on the internal combustion engine (ICE) front to look forward to, domestically at least.
"We have a very competitive portfolio of ICE products available and some very exciting ICE products also in the pipeline. I’m not concerned how this transition will look like because at one point in time, we will be in a luxurious position to pick and choose between a highly competitive and highly exciting ICE product or equally or maybe more exciting battery electric product," Jopp added.
One such ICE product Malaysians can look forward to is the incoming A-Class Sedan CKD, which has been confirmed as the first compact model MBM will locally assemble in Pekan, Pahang. While that keeps the crowd entertained in what we can only imagine to be a few good years of fierce RM200k (or less) battles with BMW's 2 Series Gran Coupe, MBM will undoubtedly be hard at work in the background as it gears up for a future without engines and subsidised RON95 petrol.
Enjoy those while you can.