Mercedes-Benz commits to achieving carbon neutrality – resource conservation, recycling, full EV line-up

Land. Sea. Air.

The three-pointed star has been the symbol of Mercedes-Benz for well over a century. Developed by Paul and Adolf Daimler in 1909, the trademark design was inspired by their father, Gottlieb Daimler, who had used a symbol like it to mark the family’s house on a postcard depicting a view of the town of Deutz.

Used as an emblem on the radiators of Mercedes vehicles, the three-pointed star symbolised Gottlieb Daimler’s vision of mobility on land, on sea and in the air. This vision was ultimately fulfilled, as Mercedes engines were used in cars, boats as well as airplanes.

In the modern era, the three points of the Mercedes star serve a renewed purpose: the responsible handling of earth, water and air. These elements are critical to the preservation of life on our planet, making them strong drivers of the Mercedes-Benz brand. As such, the German carmaker has committed itself to resource conservation, recycling, and carbon neutrality.

As part of the Ambition 2039 strategy, Mercedes-Benz is pursuing a holistic approach towards a fully electric mobility future, which will see it launch a fleet of new vehicles that are carbon neutral along the entire value chain and lifecycle from 2039.

Mercedes-Benz commits to achieving carbon neutrality – resource conservation, recycling, full EV line-up

Big strides have already been made in this mission, as the current range of Mercedes-EQ models are catered to a variety of segments in which the brand is represented. Even so, an eye on the future is always best, which is why Mercedes-Benz has primed itself to go fully electric by the end of this decade where market conditions allow and reduce its carbon footprint per car by more than half compared with 2020.

With so many EVs on the horizon, considerations must also be made on the battery life cycle. For this, Mercedes-Benz will offer remanufactured batteries for all its EVs to do justice to the concept of a closed economic cycle and conserve resources.

The Mercedes-Benz Energy subsidiary has also established a successful business model with stationary large-scale energy storage application that re-use batteries to give them a second life when they can no longer be used in vehicles.

Batteries contain plenty of previous metals that can be recovered through recycling, so Mercedes-Benz has already started building its own battery recycling factory based on hydrometallurgy in Germany. This further increases its recycling rate to over 96% and contributes to its expertise in the area of battery value creation.

Mercedes-Benz commits to achieving carbon neutrality – resource conservation, recycling, full EV line-up

How these vehicles are built must also be sustainable, and as of 2022, the process of producing vehicles and batteries has been carbon neutral in all of Mercedes-Benz’s own plants worldwide. These plants only use green electricity from renewable sources, and this is also a requirement that its suppliers’ plants must meet to meet the carmaker’s procurement process to secure supply contracts.

Additionally, the proportion of recycled materials used in the production of vehicles will be increased to 40% by 2030 to converse resources and avoid wastage, which will further reduce Mercedes-Benz’s carbon footprint.

Current models already use recycled steel, aluminum as well as many innovative recyclates. For example, UBQ is a plastic substitute made from unrecyclable household waste, including all organics, which is used in the cable ducts of the EQS and EQE.

Meanwhile, the nylon yarn used for the floor coverings of the EQS comes from recycled fishing nets and carpets, while various fabrics made from recycled PET bottles are made available as options in addition to high-quality man-made leather and microfibre fleece.

Mercedes-Benz commits to achieving carbon neutrality – resource conservation, recycling, full EV line-up

Later this year, the EQE and S-Class will be the first production models to have bow door handles made from chemical recycling, a process that will see fossil raw materials be replaced with biomethane and pyrolysis oil from recycled scrap tyres.

Mercedes-Benz is also focused on decarbonising the steel supply chain by avoiding and reducing emissions rather than compensation. For instance, carbon-reduced flat steel from Salzgitter Flachstahl is made from 100% scrap in an electric arc furnace. Compared to the traditional blast furnace route, the micro-alloyed grades have carbon emissions reduced by more than 60%.

Moving forward, from 2025, the carmaker will only use steel in the vehicle production of various models that is almost carbon-free due to the production with hydrogen instead of coking coal – it is the first automobile manufacturer to invest in the Swedish start-up H2 Green Steel (H2GS).

These initiatives make up Mercedes-Benz’s comprehensive and holistic strategy to ensure the elements earth, water and air are handled responsibly. The new times require sustainability to be at the forefront of the brand, and like Gottlieb Daimler, it will be a vision that gets fulfilled. Find out more about Mercedes-Benz’s journey to slash its carbon footprint, here.