In addition to climate protection, the improvement of inner-city air quality will continue to be an important environmental consideration in the future. Traffic still accounts for a considerable share of nitrogen oxide pollution near roads.

For the period from 2015 to 2030, we have therefore set the following reduction targets for NOx real driving emissions (RDE).

–80 % for cars

–80 % for vans

–75 % for buses

–60 % for trucks

Cutting-edge technologies are enabling us to steadily reduce the pollutant emissions of our cars and commercial vehicles. In doing so, we have set our sights not only on conventional gasoline and diesel engines but also on hybrid vehicles that combine conventional and electric drive technologies.

The introduction of the new diesel engine families consisting of the OM 654, the OM 656 and the OM 608, as well as the increasing electrification of drive systems, will greatly help us to reach the emission targets.

In addition, we have initiated far-reaching voluntary software updates for more than three million diesel-powered cars and vans that are currently on the road.

Diesel debate. As a result of the diesel debate, criticism has been leveled against the automotive industry, including Daimler. The revelation that the passenger car NOx emissions measured in labs using the legally required NEDC method sometimes deviated considerably from those obtained in real-life driving has caused some members of the public to lose confidence in the automotive industry.

Our plan for the future of diesel engines includes the development of software updates for a total of more than three million vehicles owned by customers — significantly more than one million of which are in Germany. With the updates, we are improving the NOx emission performance of our vehicles under real driving conditions by an average of 25 to 30 percent. Verification is with the use of the measuring cycles approved by the authorities (WLTC 1, 2, 3).

Daimler is now offering a trade-in payment of up to €10,000 to owners of Euro 1 to Euro 5 diesel vehicles in the specified priority regions with high NOx concentrations whose cars were registered before October 1, 2018.

After talks with the German Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure (BMVI) in June 2018 and by order of the German Federal Motor Transport Authority (KBA), Daimler is carrying out a mandatory recall of approximately 690,000 vehicles in Europe (including approximately 280,000 in Germany). The great majority of these vehicles were already covered by Daimler’s program of voluntary service measures announced in July 2017. These measures are being implemented in close cooperation with Germany’s vehicle registration agencies.

Hardware retrofits. Following the coalition decision, in early October 2018, Daimler also announced its intention to participate in a hardware retrofit program for diesel vehicles in the defined priority regions as part of the German government’s concept for clean air and the safeguarding of individual mobility. Within this context, Daimler is prepared to cover the cost of a hardware retrofitting up to a maximum value of €3,000 for Mercedes-Benz customers with Euro 5 diesel vehicles in the defined priority regions. The retrofitting must be developed and offered by a third-party supplier and approved by the German Federal Motor Transport Authority (KBA). In addition, it must demonstrably authorize entry into certain cities, including driving on roads affected by the driving ban. Daimler’s aim is to promote the interests of its customers by creating transparency as to which hardware solutions third-party suppliers can offer, and when.

Increasing the mobility fund. We have significantly increased our planned contribution to the “Immediate Action Program for Clean Air,” which was agreed on at the National Forum Diesel in August 2017. Together with BMW and Volkswagen, we are now providing the automobile industry’s entire share of the funding.

Local measures. With regard to the local measures, Daimler is focusing in particular on Stuttgart. For example, we are subsidizing our employees’ use of public transport, such as the commuter train, streetcar and bus networks, to get to work. Thanks to Daimler’s coverage of the costs, since January 2018 the Group’s employees have been able to use local public transportation free of charge to travel between their homes and workplaces in the Stuttgart region on particulate alert days.

In order to assess the effects of modern diesel engines in the fleet and to factor in possible future driving bans, we have commissioned a calculation of future air quality scenarios at Neckartor in Stuttgart, together with the Robert Bosch company and in close cooperation with the Stuttgart city government and the responsible federal state ministries. An advisory committee of recognized experts and university professors supported the study, which was conducted by the Aviso company. According to the scenarios of the study, the limits will probably not be reached at “Am Neckartor” by 2020. But — depending on the package of measures implemented — the limit of 40 micrograms per cubic meter of ambient air is expected to be permanently met between 2020 and 2025.

New diesel engines. Mercedes-Benz vehicles powered by the new diesel engines (OM 654, OM 656 and OM 608) emit between 40 and 60 milligrams of nitrogen oxide (NOx) on average — during thousands of kilometers of driving on the road and under the conditions specified by the Real Driving Emissions (RDE) test. These figures are significantly lower than the current RDE emissions limit of 80 milligrams per kilometer multiplied by the correlation factor 2.1 (Level 1). The correlation factor was determined by an EU regulation to cover the usually higher nitrogen-oxide emissions in real operation for new vehicle types until the end of 2019.

The lower values are made possible by an innovative overall package consisting of the engine and the exhaust after-treatment system. This package was launched with the new engine generation in 2016 and is being continually enhanced. The very good results have been repeatedly confirmed in road tests by organizations such as DEKRA and TÜV, as well as by various trade magazines.

Soot particle filter for gasoline engines. Daimler conducted its first tests with a gasoline particulate filter (GPF) as early as March 2014 and was a pioneer in the testing of this technology. In mid-2017 we began including a GPF with all Mercedes-Benz direct-injection gasoline engines. In June 2018 Daimler became the first automaker to include a GPF as standard equipment in Europe. Similar tests and preparations are now under way in order to ensure we can take new regulations and future legal developments into account in other markets.

Emission laboratory in Immendingen. In the fall of 2018 we began construction of a completely new emissions laboratory in Immendingen that is scheduled to go into operation in 2020. The lab’s test rigs will be capable of measuring the exhaust gas emissions of all Mercedes-Benz car and van models and ensuring compliance with applicable standards in the future. The facility will include several lab and workshop areas that will be used to test onboard diagnosis (OBD) systems and prepare for RDE test drives with portable emission measurement systems (PEMS). We also plan to build special test rigs which, among other things, will make it possible to conduct experiments with altitude simulations (from sea level to 4,000 meters above sea level), as well as tests under extreme conditions in temperatures ranging from -30 to +50 degrees Celsius.

Healthy air in the interior. Good air quality in the vehicle interior and anti-allergen surfaces contribute to the occupants’ safety and well-being. As early as the development stage, we ensure that emissions in the vehicle interior are reduced to a minimum and that allergens are avoided. External allergens are effectively kept out by highly efficient filters in the air conditioning unit.

Proven anti-allergen features. Since 2016, all of our car model series have borne the seal of quality of ECARF, the European Centre for Allergy Research Foundation. The ECARF seal is awarded to products whose anti-allergen properties have been demonstrated in scientific studies. Most recently, the ECARF seal was awarded to the CLS-Class, the A-Class, the GT 4-Door Coupé and the GLE-Class in 2018.