Daimler Sustainability Report 2016: actively shaping the mobility revolution

Mar 28, 2017
  • Acting sustainably for a successful future
  • Safety as a core value – also in relation to automated driving
  • Daimler Brand Protection team on the heels of counterfeiters worldwide 

Berlin. Digitisation, electrification, autonomous driving and new mobility concepts represent the greatest changes in mobility for more than 130 years. Daimler's goal is to drive these changes in a sustainable manner to achieve a permanently viable level of success for the company. Ola Källenius, Member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG for Group Research & Mercedes-Benz Cars Development: "As the inventor of the automobile, we attach high priority to responsible mobility across the entire value chain. We are continuing to systematically promote the issue of sustainability through targeted investments in environmental projects in the development and production of our vehicles. In 2016 alone, we invested a total of over three billion euros."

Renata Jungo Brüngger, Member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG for Integrity and Legal Affairs: "While opening up new business areas for us, new technologies such as autonomous driving also raise legal and ethical questions. Early tackling of these questions is part of our social responsibility as a company. Addressing the aspects of integrity and sustainability is essential if we are to successfully help shape the revolution within the automotive industry."

On track with fleet consumption and lowering of emissions

The latest figures, data and facts from the Sustainability Report 2016 were presented by Anke Kleinschmit, Head of Group Research & Sustainability and Chief Environmental Officer of Daimler AG. In 2016, our fleet consumption in China and the USA fell by seven and six percent, respectively. In spite of significant growth in demand for luxury class vehicles in Europe, we were able to maintain our level. This is because, with the individual models, it was possible to achieve sometimes very significant savings. For example, the current Mercedes-Benz E‑Class 220 d Estate emits (combined fuel consumption: 4.2 l/100 km; CO2 emissions (combined): 109 g/km) a full 26 percent less CO2 over the entire life cycle than the previous model.

Also, the Mercedes-Benz Actros is the master of the "Fuel Duel". In comparative tests between 90 tractor units driven by customers over a total of 13 million kilometres, the heavy-duty truck consumed an average of 10.7 percent less fuel than its rivals.

There were also top ratings in production. Anke Kleinschmit: "The EU project AREUS, which was successfully completed in 2016, is a pioneering contribution to energy-efficient automobile production of the future." With AREUS, for example, the recovery of braking energy from robots, together with an intelligently controlled power supply network and energy storage units, results in efficiency gains of between 10 and 20 percent. Renewable energy is also taking root at Daimler. Between 2011 and 2016, there was a doubling of the peak output of the photovoltaic systems installed at 18 sites, while the total number of cogeneration modules rose from six to 52.

In addition, Daimler is breaking new ground with innovative stationary storage units. In Hanover, for example, Daimler has bundled 3,000 new replacement battery modules intended for the smart electric drive vehicle fleet to form an XXL stationary energy storage system. And in Lünen, 1,000 used batteries from smart fortwo electric drive vehicles make up what is currently the world's largest second-use battery storage system. Both technologies reduce the environmental footprint of electric mobility while at the same time helping to cushion the unavoidable fluctuations in the power generated by renewable energy sources.

Sustainably on the way to autonomous driving

Also with the new generation of driver assistance systems now being launched by Mercedes-Benz in the S‑Class after its facelift, Daimler is showcasing sustainable development. Familiar automated driving functions have been extended in line with real-world needs. Thanks to enhanced camera and radar systems, the new S‑Class has an even better view of the traffic situation: In addition, for the first time it makes use of map and navigation data to calculate driving behaviour. Added to that are the many years of experience with automated driving – more specifically, in relation to the software programming of assistance functions.

On the road to autonomous driving, Daimler is systematically applying this technology transfer right across all divisions of the group, from trucks and vans through to buses. The F 015 Luxury in Motion concept vehicle, just like the Mercedes-Benz Future Bus with CityPilot or the Future Truck, is pointing the way forward into the future. Alongside autonomous driving, current megatrends include the electrification of the drivetrain, digitisation and new mobility concepts. They are ushering in the greatest transformation in mobility since the invention of the automobile. To successfully address these challenges, Mercedes-Benz Cars is adopting a combined approach to these future issues within the new organisational unit called CASE. CASE stands for the strategic pillars of connectivity (Connected), autonomous driving (Autonomous), flexible use (Shared & Services) and electric drive systems (Electric).

Legal certainty with automated driving

Alongside technical aspects, there are other requirements when it comes to automated driving. "New technologies need legal certainty. The German government's draft law on automated driving represents an important step in this regard. Germany is thus one of the first countries to create a legal basis for future technological development, even though some adjustments may still be needed here or there," says Renata Jungo Brüngger, Member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG for Integrity and Legal Affairs and Member of the Ethics Commission on Automated Driving. In early 2017, the German government tabled the draft law on automated driving. It regulates the automated systems that will continue to require a driver. According to the draft law, the driver can pass the steering to the system in certain situations. However, he or she must take back control if requested to do so by the system or if it becomes apparent to drivers that they need to intervene. This gives the driver more opportunities for other activities, such as reading emails on the infotainment system. The draft law also retains the well-proven three-pillar liability model consisting of driver, owner and manufacturer liability. This offers a balanced distribution of risk while ensuring victim protection.

Interdisciplinary swarm organisation for legal questions, data protection and ethics

The existing legislation provides a suitable framework for partially automated driving. In the next stages of automated driving and also for the future of autonomous driving, when the driver will be reduced to being a passenger, it will be necessary for legislation and ethics to keep pace with technology. In this regard, Daimler considers internal and external perspectives. The company is continuing its dialogue with science, society and politics. This exchange takes place, for example, at the annual Daimler Sustainability Dialogue, at association level and at a symposium to be held by Daimler in autumn 2017. Internally, experts from various fields have set up an interdisciplinary swarm organisation to jointly address the legal and ethical issues.

New technology centre guarantees comprehensive safety

Safety is a sustainability factor – and has been a core issue for Daimler and Mercedes-Benz ever since the first crash tests by Béla Barényi. No matter how many assistance systems there are, there is still also a focus on passive safety. Safety features are tested and optimised at the new Technology Centre for Vehicle Safety (TFS), which offers diverse opportunities for vehicle-vehicle testing, the design of assistance systems and PRE‑S AFE® as well as in connection with the validation of vehicle concepts with alternative drive forms. One of the achievements, available as an option in the new Mercedes-Benz E‑C lass, is all-round protection for the front seats with PRE‑S AFE® Impulse Side. This subsystem is capable of moving the affected driver or front passenger as far away as possible from the acute danger zone before the actual side impact.

Counterfeit replacement parts pose a safety risk

Brand protection plays an important role in terms of safety and sustainability. More and more counterfeit replacement parts, such as brakes or windscreens, are making their way onto the market, where they pose a risk to road traffic. "To minimise the safety risks from pirated products, Daimler takes consistent action against counterfeiters. Although, visually, the counterfeit products are barely distinguishable from the genuine article, they are usually of inferior quality and therefore pose a risk to vehicle occupants or uninvolved third parties," says Renata Jungo Brüngger.

The global counterfeiter industry – a lucrative shadow economy

The production of fake parts is now on an industrial scale. For instance, over 1.4 million counterfeit Mercedes-Benz replacement parts were seized in 2016 alone. In the majority of cases, the affected parts were wheels and rims, suspension components, filters, brake parts and windscreens. There are wide profit margins for counterfeiters, because, among other things, they avoid spending on research, development and quality inspections. Human rights and fair working conditions are just as unimportant as the prevention of environmental risks. The global networking and professionalism of the counterfeiters are also on the rise, with digitisation opening up new distribution channels to the makers of pirated products. Many motorists purchase dangerous fake parts on the internet, assuming them to be genuine.

Daimler Brand Protection team on the heels of counterfeiters worldwide

The Brand Protection team has an international presence and cooperates closely with customs and local authorities. The brand protection strategy is based on the three pillars of "detecting, attacking and preventing". The brand protectors inspect suspicious products on online platforms or at trade fairs around the world in an effort to detect counterfeiters. Typical warning signs are a lower price than for the genuine part, differences in trademark and sale through dubious online sources. Worldwide raid actions in collaboration with local authorities are targeted at the large counterfeiter networks as well as at breaking up their production and distribution structures. Other measures include criminal proceedings or actions for injunctions and damages. Also when it comes to prevention, the brand protection team cooperates closely with customs and police. At training sessions and with information material, they raise awareness of the safety risks and help to distinguish genuine parts from fakes. The Daimler Brand Protection team makes an important contribution to Daimler's sustainability goals – not only in terms of safety, but also with a view to human rights and environmental protection.

Daimler Sustainability Report 2016: http://www.daimler.com/nachhaltigkeit

Concept EQ, exterior