Daimler’s Chairman: diesel engines should remain on the market

(Łukasz Marciniak, Polish Press Agency)

Modern diesel engines are practically as “clean” as today’s gasoline powertrains and, moreover, they emit less CO2. Therefore, diesel units should remain on the market – said Daimler’s Chairman Dieter Zetsche.

– From a rational point of view it is in the interest of all to sustain the share of diesel engine in the market. Since September 2015, i.e. the Frankfurt motor show, our attitude towards them has not changed. (…) Of course this is not only just a matter of rationality. We have seen repeated attack (on these engines – PAP), which had nothing to do with common sense. However, I would repeat that we believe that it is in the interest of all to keep diesel engines and take advantage of the benefits they bring – said Zetsche during a closed meeting with the press at International Motor Show in Geneva.

Referring to market entry by companies from China and Silicon Valley, Chairman of Daimler admitted that Tesla has a large contribution to the popularization of electric vehicles. However, the company has adopted a quite conservative approach to the automotive industry and car production unlike other technology companies according to Zetsche.

– We have also heard a lot about Google and Apple cars. However, it seems that for now they are focusing their efforts on creating applications „black boxes”, which can be used during autonomous drive, and platforms and ecosystems to operate vehicles. As a result they are working less on the development of the car itself, judged Zetsche.

Remaining in the topic of modern technology Chairman of Daimler pointed out that “from current perspective one can see that we will use electric powertrains regardless if they are to be powered by energy from battery or hydrogen fuel cells. However, he added that currently the use of batteries seems to be a more rational approach for “several reasons”. He emphasized that recently there’s been a significant increase in the range of battery cars as well as a decrease in the timespan required to charge them. And fuel cells require expansion of hydrogen filling station infrastructure. Nevertheless he assured that the company is working on this technology and will present hydrogen cars.

He also pointed out that due to increasing population in the cities and more and more congestion, the popularity of car sharing will increase. This is particularly true for city centers, for which Daimler is prepared, he assured.

Zetsche reminded that the automotive industry is serious about the issue of safety in transport and this is why it develops intelligent technologies, which are aimed at decreasing the number of accidents and casualties.
– In some areas cars are already very intelligent. When you take into account that 90 percent of accidents is caused by human errors, you have to emphasize that in these cases the support we gain from the modern car is already much stronger. (…) But one have to admit that artificial intelligence solutions are not good enough yet. But eventually our plans assume development of a perfect balance between the computer and the human, which will provide a very high level of security – he added.
At the end of the meeting he pointed out that the company is considering to use Uber technology platform for Daimler’s autonomous cars in the future.