Mercedes-Benz has published its second quarter (Q2) global delivery numbers. Interestingly, in its press release about these numbers, Mercedes-Benz highlighted its battery electric vehicle (BEV) sales. Overall plugin vehicle sales totaled 65,400 registrations in Q2, and full electric car sales totaled 23,500.
Mercedes-Benz Electric Car Sales Growth & Overall Car Sales Decline
Mercedes-Benz was keen to point out that BEV sales were up 90% and sales of plugin vehicles (plugin hybrid as well as full electric vehicles) were up 2%. The 90% figure looks impressive on the surface, the 2% very meh. However, the key number I want to focus on is the 23,500 sales of BEVs. In the context of the global BEV market, 23,500 is minuscule — yet Mercedes-Benz wants to highlight that total.
One might say, “Hey, Mercedes-Benz is not a mass-market brand and produces just about 500,000 sales a quarter.” However, that 23,500 total is not even a 5% share of the German company’s overall sales, which is a weak BEV share in today’s market, especially considering that Mercedes-Benz is based in Europe, where BEV sales are booming.
Additionally, Tesla is basically a young teenager and is already selling more than 10 times that Mercedes-Benz BEV total. Tesla has reached half the total quarterly sales of Mercedes-Benz on the back of 100% electric vehicles — Mercedes-Benz could have found a way and should have found a way to sell a much higher percentage of electric vehicles. It’s not 2016 any more. It’s 2022!
On the plus side, Mercedes-Benz EQE production is now underway, the company reports, and EQS SUV sales will start in the second half of 2022. So, we may see some decent growth by the end of the year. Still, though, Mercedes could do much more.
Notably, overall Mercedes-Benz sales were down 16% in the second quarter and in the first half of the year as a whole. As already mentioned, BEV sales (excluding smart vehicles) were up 90% in the second quarter, and they were up even more in the first half of the year as a whole — 134%. So, Mercedes-Benz can see the trends now affect it quite strongly, and there’s one prime avenue for growth — electricity.
Regarding EVs, Britta Seeger, Member of the Board of Management of Mercedes-Benz Group AG responsible for Mercedes-Benz Cars Marketing and Sales, says: “The electric ramp up is gaining traction: Sales of our fully electric vehicles increased by more than 90 % in Q2 and even 134% in the first half of 2022. It shows that we offer compelling electric vehicles that our customers desire.” Yes, customers want Mercedes-Benz EVs, but do enough customers want Mercedes EVs over non-Mercedes EVs to stop the overall corporate sales drop and get the German automaker back to sales growth? And how many electric cars is Mercedes-Benz prepared to produce in the next few years? We’ll see.
Mercedes-Benz Electric Van Sales Growth & Overall Van Sales Decline
On the van side of things, Mercedes-Benz has strong BEV sales growth to share as well. “Mercedes-Benz Vans once again underlines its claim to be a leading supplier of eVans in the second quarter and will continue to expand its product range with the electric models in the small van segment. In total, around 3,900 battery-electric vans were handed over to customers (+ 61%). The proportion of the purely electric eSprinter and eVito nearly doubled to around 3,100 units (+ 97%). However, in the privately positioned midsize van segment, deliveries of the EQV declined by 4% from April to June.” Overall, like with cars, despite those strong growth percentages, Mercedes-Benz Vans sales were down a bit compared to the year before. They were down 2% in this case, with around 100,000 van sales.
It’s All About the Batteries!
An automaker can only sell as many electric cars and vans as it can get the batteries for. It’s not clear how strong the Mercedes-Benz battery supply chain and order log is. However, without enough batteries, there aren’t enough electric vehicles being produced for the company to be competitive on this high-BEV-demand market.
On the flip side, batteries in vehicles that have worn out their time on the road are still highly valuable. Thinking in the long term, Mercedes-Benz has established a new partnership in order to maximize the value of those old batteries. “Clean energy startup Moment Energy has established a supply agreement with Mercedes-Benz Energy (MBE) for second-life electric vehicle batteries. This marks the first agreement Mercedes-Benz Energy has signed with a North American second-life energy storage system (ESS) provider.”
“Together with Moment Energy we will enable sustainable ESS-solutions for North America based on second-life batteries. We are to combine Mercedes-Benz Energy’s experience with Moment Energy’s pioneering spirit in these exciting times,” said Gordon Gassmann, CEO of Mercedes-Benz Energy.
One key note from the press release about that new partnership is that Mercedes-Benz highlights a 2030 market share figure for EVs that is well beyond the company’s current 5% BEV makeup. “Electric vehicles, or EVs, are expected to make up 70% of US automotive sales by 2030. With this growth comes tens of millions of end-of-life EV batteries that are being improperly managed. On top of that, these batteries still have an average of 80% of their original capacity remaining when removed from vehicles.” Does that imply that Mercedes-Benz is aiming for 70% of its vehicles sales in the US to be electric vehicle sales by 2030? Or is the company just using that figure from external reports to make their new partnership look better? The US is well behind Europe and China in EV share of the overall auto market, but EVs are even unstoppable in the States, and perhaps Mercedes-Benz is planning for that.
The company can see that in the segments where it has started focusing on EVs, it is seeing true success. Sales in the Entry Luxury category reached 132,600 units (-32%). For Mercedes-Benz, the switch to electric vehicles in this segment is gathering pace, with BEVs accounting for 14% of overall sales, a rise of 50% compared to the prior-year quarter. Deliveries of the Mercedes-Benz EQA rose by more than 50% to 7,000 and the fully electric EQB posted a very strong quarter with 5,500 sales worldwide.” When will the company have enough batteries and production capacity to reach 14% BEV sales overall, and then 21%, 31%, 47%?…
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