It seems Mercedes’ carefully choreographed, orchestrated, diligent makeover from Dieselgate to electric car cheerleading hasn’t fooled everyone. While it is easy to applaud Mercedes for tackling climate change by switching to electric powertrains you have to remember why they are making the great switch. They were mandated by governments to end the production of ICE cars (Internal Combustion Engines) and venture forth to an electric future in order to protect the planet from climate change. That’s a big responsibility for a well-oiled corporate behemoth. So why is Mercedes being forced into an electric car corner? Dieselgate is the simple answer. Dieselgate is the biggest fraud ever committed by the German automotive industry. However, you have to commend Mercedes for rolling out their highly educated senior executives in their $2,000 suits and designer eyewear, they did a good job of making the car buying world forget about the criminality behind Dieselgate.
But we always felt, behind the forced smiles and faux enthusiasm for all things electric, we always felt Mercedes was dragging their feet. Mercedes engaged in a form of manufacturing consent to extend the age of the ICE era, not end it, for the purpose of harvesting bumper profits. And we, DCB, in the smallest microscopic way possible, we were complicit. We accepted media invites, we drove their cars, we ate their food and engaged in (limited) conversation. We filed reviews. But to what end? What was it all for? As the profits from Dieslegate equipped cars poured in, Mercedes rewarded its senior executive committee with bonuses and corporate perks while thousands of people per year across Europe, every year for over 20 years, ended up in hospital and suffocated to death from the effects of dieselgate.
And now, finally, Mercedes is being held to account by the common man for their part in dieselgate. Reuters reports that activists and senior executives from German environmental NGOs are suing Daimler, the mothership of Mercedes. The lawsuit accuses the company of not doing enough to cut carbon emissions and using their electric car business as nothing more than cover to drag their feet. Indeed the civil lawsuit states that Mercedes is on track to exceed its federally mandated carbon-neutral budget and commitments.
Predictably, Daimler all but dismissed the civil proceedings against it by reiterating its stance of “aiming” to become fully electric by the end of the current decade. Daimler said “aiming” which could mean they either meet their end of the decade target or not. As always the devil is in the detail.