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Mercedes CEO Dieter Zetsche looks at the future

Discussion in 'News' started by Auzie, Apr 2, 2015.

  1. Auzie

    Auzie Tree Hugger Member

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    Interesting interview with Mercedes CEO Dieter Zetsche clearly reveals the attitudes and plans for the business future. DZ makes some remarks on Tesla and its role in shaping that future.

    DZ considers Tesla technology to be the technology of the future, however, the disadvantages of a higher price and range anxiety will considerably delay the technology becoming mainstream.

    DZ also sees ice surviving for a long long time and eventually becoming extinct. His view of the future includes the prevalence of hybrids with relevant number of bevs after some time.

    DZ seems to have a lot of respect for Tesla

    DZ also stated that Mercedes is certain not to build Tesla fighter. DZ goal for Mercedes is to be number one. Perhaps competing with Tesla would distract from this goal, imho.

    Imo, DZ correctly identified fun factor as quite relevant for getting customers attracted to Tesla, but I find his statement 'disadvantages of electric motor' very short sighted or lacking insight, or perhaps it is simply poorly phrased on his behalf. Replacing a cumbersome complex inelegant inefficient ice with a electric motor is at the heart of the technological advantage of Tesla cars.
     
  2. Todd Burch

    Todd Burch Electron Pilot

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    Most people should recognize that electric motors do not have disadvantages relative to an ICE. Instant torque, low internal friction, 1 moving part, no oil changes, extremely high power to weight and power to volume ratio, flat torque curve, instantaneous modulation, reliability, etc. are all HUGE advantages that make an electric motor far superior than even the best ICE engine. The limiting factor is really battery (range and continuous power output) and cooling...those are issues related to the electric drivetrain system, not the motor.

    That's probably what he meant.
     
  3. ecarfan

    ecarfan Well-Known Member

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    DZ still does not seem to fully grasp the extraordinary convenience of the Tesla Supercharger network and fast high power DC charging as well as 80A home charging. Or perhaps he does and is unwilling to say so publicly.
     
  4. Auzie

    Auzie Tree Hugger Member

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    I think his goal: 'To be number one' could be driving his thinking and actions. Focus on such goal is likely to eliminate paths that may be distracting. Strengthening the existing business rather than introducing radical changes that do not fit in well is more compatible path towards the goal of being number one during his tenure. Hence focus on car control and other improvements that fit in with the current technology.

    Hence chasing Tesla is not in the plans.

    He also states that he is not certain if Tesla can scale up their business. The way I interpret it, he intends to stick with the status quo because that is what works for his business. Hybrids are less disruptive than bev, hence the plans to steer business that way.
     
  5. Doug_G

    Doug_G Lead Moderator

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    Yep, classic Innovator's Dilemma material. He will very successfully manage the company to great profitability before it abruptly dies. (Assuming EVs take off, which I believe they will.)
     
  6. Bangor Bob

    Bangor Bob Member

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    Getting heat out of the motor stator, and that heat causing performance limiting is currently a disadvantage vs. a like-peak-output ICE. An ICE can generally maintain peak output until the gas tank is empty without (too much) damage. It'll get solved, but it's not solved yet.
     
  7. gg_got_a_tesla

    gg_got_a_tesla Model S: VIN P65513, Model 3 Res Holder

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    We may have to give DZ some credit for acknowledging that electric is the eventual future, when battery energy density, recharging times (as compared to filling up with gas) and electric motor issues are resolved, as they are bound to be, to bring EVs on par with ICEs of today on those fronts. Although we BEV enthusiasts know better on atleast some of these fronts, he's talking about true mainstream, of course.

    In some ways, EVs are indeed like the personal computers of the 90s with hard disk storage being the closest analog to EV battery capacity / range.

    I wish the interviewer asked something on the lines of "so, how much of the S-Class and E-Class market share do you think Tesla has taken over so far?"
     
  8. Todd Burch

    Todd Burch Electron Pilot

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    I think the core solution to this has been found--just that Tesla isn't doing enough liquid cooling of the motor. And that is primarily because Teslas are intended to be touring/road cars, not race cars. They prioritized efficiency and aerodynamics over efficient cooling (which could be done with a higher coolant flowrate, a larger radiator, and more cooling surfaces.
     
  9. 30seconds

    30seconds Active Member

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    it seems that a EV has better cooling than an ICE. Maybe not optimized for the track but I don't think you will cause major damage on a 100 degree day if the cooling system fails (or you don't have one a la the leaf) whereas you are toast in an ICE
     
  10. RCOST

    RCOST Member

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    Not necessarily, some ICE cars have a camel mode to run in an emergency without coolant safely. I know Cadillac Northstar v8's and some Fords and Chevy's have it too.

    http://www.corvetteforum.com/forums/c5-tech/576047-c5-s-camel-mode-do-you-know-about-this-feature.html

     
  11. WarpedOne

    WarpedOne Supreme Premier

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    Tell that to Kodak fans. Or Seagate, or Conner, or ...
    You say you never heard of them? Exactly my point.
     
  12. hobbes

    hobbes Active Member

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    It is good to hear that Tesla is being taken seriously, though that only happens at the point where you cannot really deny it any more. Focusing on being number one - fine, depends much on the time scale you consider. He does not have the same vision Tesla and most of us here do. Gotta agree with Doug on this.
     
  13. WarpedOne

    WarpedOne Supreme Premier

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    He might have it buy he is not in a similar position to EM.
    Tesla borders onto a one-man-band - what elon thinks is ok, it happens.

    DZ does not have that much power in Mercedes. There is much larger and older corporate culture and other influential thinkers. There is only so much one single person can change before he is taken out of the company.
     
  14. Alfred

    Alfred Member

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    Daimler was an early and important investor in Tesla. They positioned themselves in a position to be able to move to new technology as needed. I do not see a classic innovator's dilemma situation. Consider that they were on the board of Tesla and are probably even now a bit better informed than we are here on this forum. Zetsche will accordingly also have to be cautious in his wording when speaking about a public company. I have no information on their current agreements, but last year a Mercedes executive (do not remember the source) spoke about their (generous) use of Tesla technology. No word about any inhibitions there. Of course they are also very careful not to antagonize Berlin and will not boast with foreign and imported technology.
    As for the situation in markets: You have to consider the thoughts of those that decided not to buy a Model S - even not after having driven one. It is early days in many markets and sales have not yet "crossed the chasm" as possibly by now in California or (heavily subsidized) Norway and Holland.
     
  15. Johan

    Johan Took a TSLA bear test. Came back negative.

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    Very good comments Alfred. It's hard to know what's really going on under the hood at Daimler. They may quietly below the radar be preparing to gear up and transition in to BEVs as the market matures and broadens.

    The big question of course is: Where will the batteries come from? If it emerges that Daimler somehow, directly or indirectly, are investors in the Gigafactory/factories we'll know for sure.

    Let's not forget that a huge car manufacturer such as Daimler, even though they are well in profitable territory, have very large investments in ICE technology and very large financial responsibilities which means that they have to transition gradually in to BEVs while maintaining profitability. This is hard. If they were to halt production and sales for even just 6 months they'd be bankrupt.
     
  16. WarpedOne

    WarpedOne Supreme Premier

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    What is more - during this transition they must still invest into ICE development to maintain the leader position. Huge RD cost knowing the fruits won't last.
    Word hard does not even start to describe the problem.
     
  17. EchoDelta

    EchoDelta Member

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    I drive a Mercedes BEV (Tesla Inside) and it's been a good experience so far but the small gaps and annoyances and some design decisions are telling of how deep their understanding (doesn't) go into BEV owners's needs and workflows and yet tries to go about getting ICE users just not think it's a BEV.
    - inattention to the home charging experience -They ship a BEV with a L1 j1772. No CHAdeMO.
    - lack of good data, stats or reliable app to let a user manage or see their own energy use. They put a super padded (therefore always suspect) range estimator, significant invisible reserves, and even the option to enable 100%SOC ("range charge") is a paid extra.
     
  18. Robert.Boston

    Robert.Boston Model S VIN P01536

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    Remember that Daimler also owns Smart, which has a very nice EV offering. The SmartForTwo is not designed as a touring car, so it's not surprising that its battery isn't scaled for touring. But as intra-city transport, it's a nice car and slated to get better.

    My takeaway is that Daimler is keeping a close eye on the EV space and introducing EVs that it thinks will be successful in Europe without the need for a lot of government subsidies or incentives, which can disappear on short notice. BMW seems to be in the same mindset. Audi/VW/Porsche, not so much.
     
  19. Alfred

    Alfred Member

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    According to Dr. Neusser here VW is just as aware as others what is likely to happen. Of course they will not disclose in any detail how they prepare to move along. There is an additional strong motive behind their interest in the form of European fleet CO2 limits that support adding electric cars to their fleet.
     
  20. Bangor Bob

    Bangor Bob Member

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    My take on VW/Audi/Porsche is they have a lot of tech and have done quite a bit of R&D (and a mind-boggling number of press releases at Audi), but are waiting for costs to come down before committing. VW does have two pure BEV's for sale now, makes investments in battery tech companies, and they've recently been saying that driving ranges could double in the next two years, and double again shortly after that. (So why would I buy or lease one today, the resale value/residual will be terrible!)
     

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