"For us at DaimlerChrysler, the emission-free automobile is and remains the long-term goal of our 'roadmap' toward sustainable mobility," said a statement issued at the Annual Meeting in Berlin on April 4. The company detailed the main components of its program:
- the consequent further improvement of combustion engines, with and without a hybrid option;
- high-quality and alternative fuels;
- emission-free driving, with the fuel cell as a long-term goal.
In addition to reducing its fleet consumption and the CO2 emissions of its passenger cars in Germany by 30%, DaimlerChrysler said it has also lowered exhaust emissions by more than 70% and particulate emissions by more than 95% in some cases.
The company is also pursuing a strategy "to make diesel engines as clean as gasoline engines - and gasoline engines as economical as diesels", says Dieter Zetsche, the Chairman of the Board of DaimlerChrysler AG. The company said that it believes that BLUETEC, the clean diesel technology, which reduces some emissions by up to 80%, can play a key role in helping to further optimize combustion engines
With regard to hybrids DaimlerChrysler says that currently it has a 60% share of the world market for hybrid buses, making it the world market leader. "Every new vehicle we develop will be engineered to accommodate a hybrid drive train," says Zetsche.
DaimlerChrysler is preparing its engines for use with alternative fuels as well. In addition to natural gas and bioethanol, the company is focusing on second-generation biofuels - in other words, on synthetic biomass-to-liquid fuels (BTL), which are made from straw or waste wood.
The company is looking into fuel cell technology but feel, "... fuel cell remains a technology of the future. There is still a long way to go", emphasizes Zetsche.
In 2006, DaimlerChrysler invested EUR 5.3 billion in research and development. A large part of this was for innovations and technologies for clean and environmentally friendly vehicles, including EUR 1.4 billion invested in Europe.