Environmental protection

A comprehensive approach to environmental protection

Protecting the environment is a primary corporate objective of the Daimler Group. Environmental protection is not separate from other objectives at Daimler; instead, it is an integral component of a corporate strategy aimed at long-term value creation. Our measures for manufacturing environmentally friendly products take the entire product lifecycle into account — from design, production and product use all the way to disposal and recycling. The environmental and energy-related guidelines approved by the Board of Management define the environmental and energy-related policy of the Daimler Group. This expresses our commitment to integrated environmental protection that begins with the underlying factors that have an impact on the environment, assesses the environmental effects of production processes and products in advance, and takes these findings into account in corporate decision-making.

€2.8 billion for environmental protection

In 2015, we continued to energetically pursue the goal of conserving resources and reducing all relevant emissions. We kept a close eye on the impact of all our processes, ranging from vehicle development and production to recycling and environmentally friendly disposal. Our expenditure for environmental protection remained nearly unchanged at €2.8 billion.

Environmentally responsible product development

A vehicle’s environmental impact is largely predetermined in the first stages of development. The earlier that environmentally responsible product development (design for environment, DfE) is integrated into the development process, the more efficiently it can help minimize the impact on the environment. The continual improvement of our products’ environmental compatibility is therefore a major requirement when setting product specifications. Our DfE experts are involved in all stages of the vehicle development process as a cross-functional team. We also systematically integrate our product design processes into our environmental and quality management systems in accordance with ISO 14001 and ISO 9001. Mercedes-Benz has been in full compliance with the relevant standard — ISO 14006 — since 2012. Mercedes-Benz has also been certified according to ISO TR 14062, the standard for environmentally oriented product development, since 2005. It was the first automaker in the world to achieve this certification.

Further reductions in cars’ CO2 emissions

Daimler makes great efforts to reduce the fuel consumption of its vehicles while enhancing their performance — and thus increasing driving enjoyment and safety reserves. With a fleet average of 123 g/km (2014: 129 g/km), we once again significantly reduced the average CO2 emissions of the cars we sell in the European Union in 2015. We were thus ahead of schedule in achieving our goal of reducing the CO2 emissions of our new-vehicle fleet in the European Union to 125 g/km by 2016. Our achievements here were due to the further optimization of our BlueEFFICIENCY measures and the success of our efficient hybrid drive systems and extremely fuel-efficient new models. We have reduced the CO2 emissions of our cars by 18 % since 2011 — and by 40 % within just two vehicle generations. More than 68 Mercedes-Benz models emit less than 120 g CO2/km and more than 108 models have received A+ or A energy efficiency labels. (See graphic B.41)

B.41 Mercedes-Benz-Cars CO2 Emissions

We plan to use innovative technologies for locally emission-free mobility, and in particular new hybrid models, in order to further reduce the fuel consumption and CO2 emissions of our cars. We have also continuously reduced the pollutant emissions of our cars in recent years and have been able to meet new emission requirements in advance — and ahead of our competitors. At Mercedes-Benz, we were one of the first manufacturers to begin in 2009 with the introduction of the EURO 6 technology, which was not obligatory until September 2015. Our BLUETEC technology and sustainable SCR exhaust treatment technology make us a world leader for reducing diesel-vehicle emissions. The cars with this equipment already comply with the strictest emission standards. In addition, we are continually further developing our emission control systems. The next generation of cutting-edge diesel engines will soon be launched and will be pioneers by fulfilling new legislative requirements in advance in Europe.

Economical and low-emission commercial vehicles

In recent years, we have also continuously reduced the fuel consumption of our commercial vehicles as well as their emissions of CO2 and pollutants. Daimler was the first manufacturer to switch its entire European product range to Euro VI before that new emissions standard went into effect in January 2014. Mercedes-Benz is achieving further efficiency gains with the latest generation of the Mercedes-Benz OM 471 heavy-duty engine, whose fuel consumption is up to 3 % lower than that of the predecessor unit, while the new engine also offers higher torque and better driving performance. An Actros semitrailer tractor equipped with this engine can save around 1,100 liters of fuel per year when driven over a distance of 130,000 km, which corresponds to a roughly three-ton reduction in annual CO2 emissions. The new engine is being used in the heavy-duty Actros, Antos and Arocs trucks and puts all of those models amongst the most efficient trucks in their respective segments. Over the last four years, the fuel consumption of our heavy-duty Actros truck has been reduced by 13 %, thanks in large part to the introduction of the new model as a Euro VI truck, the use of the Predictive Powertrain Control (PPC) cruise control system and the launch of the new engine generation. Moreover, these savings were achieved despite the fact that the truck is now more powerful than before and produces lower levels of pollutant emissions. By comparison, long-term fuel-efficiency progress in the commercial vehicle sector normally amounts to between 1.0 % and 1.5 % per year.

Natural-gas engines also offer outstanding possibilities for reducing fuel consumption and emissions. Daimler Trucks has therefore supplemented its EURO VI engine family with the new environmentally friendly M 936 G natural gas engine. The new engine’s CO2 emissions are up to 20 % lower than those of diesel engines and can be reduced even further with the use of biogas.

Our trucks also set the standards for fuel efficiency in North America, where production of the new Western Star 5700 XE was launched in May 2015. The truck stands out through its sophisticated aerodynamic features and is also equipped with a new highly efficient powertrain from our Detroit brand. The Western Star 5700 XE consumes nearly 15 % less fuel than a comparable truck.

We are also leading the way with the introduction of the latest exhaust technology in the bus sector. For example, all Mercedes-Benz and Setra model series were made available with Euro VI technology at a very early stage. A further reduction in the fuel consumption of our already efficient buses will be achieved through the use of the new generation of the OM 471 engine in buses as well. (See Latest generation of the OM 471 engine)

The consumption of diesel fuel can also be greatly reduced by hybrid technology — particularly in vans and trucks used for distribution transportation. For example, the FUSO Canter Eco Hybrid consumes up to 23 % less fuel than a comparable diesel truck, depending on use, and the Freightliner M2e Hybrid consumes up to 30 % less fuel than a conventional diesel-powered M2 106. No other commercial vehicle manufacturer has more experience in the areas of alternative drive systems and electric mobility. We also have the most extensive lineup of vehicles in this field, ranging from vans and trucks to buses.

At the end of 2015, we completed a series of customer tests with eight FUSO Canter E-Cell models in Portugal. Depending on body type and payload, the Canter diesel truck can travel 100 km on approximately 14 liters of diesel, while the FUSO Canter E-Cell requires around 48 kWh of electricity for the same distance. Based on the current cost of diesel fuel and electricity in Portugal, the Canter E-CELL offers operating cost savings of more than 60 % compared with a diesel truck.

In Europe, we plan to reduce the fuel consumption of our truck fleet by an average of 20 % over the period of 2005 to 2020. We are confident that we will achieve this ambitious target and took a further step in that direction with the introduction of the new generation of the OM 471 heavy-duty engine in 2015.

Integrated approach reduces CO2 emissions on long-distance truck journeys

Double-digit reductions in the fuel consumption and thus the CO2 emissions of modern truck combinations can be achieved by using equipment and systems already available on the market. This was demonstrated by a practical test whose results Daimler Trucks presented in Berlin in October 2015. The field test, which was known as the “Efficiency Run,” has major implications in terms of achieving CO2 targets for road freight transport. That is because the Efficiency Run showed that fuel consumption, and therefore also CO2 emissions, can be significantly reduced — and at a lower cost as well — if optimization efforts focus not just on the engine but also on the vehicle as a whole. In other words, this integrated approach addresses the trailer, tires and fuel in addition to the tractor, although it focuses on actual driving operation, infrastructure and fleet modernization as well. The Efficiency Run demonstrated that the integrated approach does in fact work.

Daimler Trucks conducted the series of tests in cooperation with leading German logistics companies. Typical payloads were transported in typical ways along typical routes under realistic conditions. The tests were supervised in detail by the independent DEKRA testing organization, which defined the test conditions, carried out the measurements and evaluated the results. One of the key results was that the two Mercedes-Benz Actros standard semitrailer combinations that were optimized for the Efficiency Run each consumed around 12 % to 14 % less fuel than the standard semitrailer combinations from the participating logistics companies. The Efficiency Run also examined the potential of long combination vehicles — with a clear result here as well: In the test, a long combination vehicle displayed fuel consumption that was around 17 % lower than that of the standard semitrailer combination used in volume-based transport.

Innovative SuperTruck

We are continually working on further increasing efficiency in road freight transport also in the United States. In March, for example, Daimler Trucks North America presented its SuperTruck concept vehicle at the Mid America Trucking Show 2015. Thanks to its pioneering technology, the SuperTruck program operated by Daimler Trucks North America (DTNA) has achieved transport efficiency improvements of 115 % (measured in ton-miles per gallon). As a result, DTNA far exceeded the efficiency improvement target of 50 % set by the US Department of Energy (DOE). Indeed, Daimler Trucks North America exceeded all expectations in the DOE program and achieved the best result of all four participating truck manufacturers. In honor of its outstanding performance, Daimler was presented with the Department of Energy’s “Distinguished Achievement Award.” Some of the solutions developed within the framework of the SuperTruck program are already being used as standard components in Freightliner and Detroit products. The combination of proven and forward-looking technologies that DTNA utilized in the DOE project allowed the truck manufacturer to highlight solutions that are technically possible. One of the most important initiatives was the optimal alignment of the tractor and semitrailer, which DTNA developed as a unified system for the first time in the project. Individual energy-efficient tires with low rolling resistance, as well as sophisticated aerodynamic features for the trailer, also made a major contribution to the increase in efficiency achieved.

Compliance with legal emission-measurement stipulations

After reports surfaced or manipulation by a competitor in the fulfillment of emission regulations, doubts began to arise concerning the emission and fuel consumption figures reported by other automakers. Daimler repudiates any allegations of manipulation. In particular, Daimler does not use and has never used any so-called “defeat device” that illegally restricts the effectiveness of emission control systems. This applies to all of our diesel and gasoline engines. Our engines comply with all applicable laws and regulations. We also preclude any irregularities when measuring the CO2 emissions of our vehicles. Furthermore, we draw attention to the fact, that several environmental authorities in Europe and in the USA have made requests for test results. Some requests were answered without any findings whereas other discussions still continue.

In addition, we actively support the efforts being undertaken in Germany and on the European level to introduce new testing procedures that measure emissions during actual driving operations (Real Driving Emissions — RDE).

The fuel-consumption data provided by manufacturers is based on the legally stipulated NEDC test cycle, which is conducted in a laboratory. However, because conditions in real driving situations generally differ from those in such labs, actual fuel consumption values can deviate from reported values. Daimler strongly supports the introduction of the WLTP (Worldwide Harmonized Light Vehicles Test Procedure) as a replacement for the NEDC that would ensure only minor deviations between actual and reported fuel consumption figures.

CO2 air conditioners in production cars as of 2017

In 2017, S-Class and E-Class models in Europe will become the first production cars in the world to be equipped with CO2 air conditioning systems. By making this move, Mercedes-Benz will go beyond the climate protection requirements of the EU. Because of their ability to produce a large amount of cold air very quickly, CO2 air conditioners can create a comfortable interior atmosphere in a short time, even when it is very hot outside. The units are also very environmentally friendly, which makes them the ideal sustainable premium solution among climate control systems.

The use of CO2 as a refrigerant requires the redevelopment of key components. CO2 air conditioners operate at a pressure of over 100 bar, which is around ten times the operating pressure of previously used systems. For this reason, all the components, as well as hoses and seals and gaskets, will have to be newly developed. To this end, Mercedes-Benz has worked with all other German automakers and numerous supplier companies on the creation of new standards in the automotive standards committee of the German Association of the Automotive Industry (VDA). These new DIN specifications, which can be viewed by the public, will also offer other companies the chance to launch short-term development activities in this area. Mercedes-Benz has taken on a pioneering role here and has become the first automaker to commission not only development work on CO2 air conditioning systems and their components but also production orders.

Despite the extraordinarily short time available to develop CO2 air conditioning systems for its top models, Mercedes-Benz will be able to achieve the high level of quality it is striving to attain. However, it will not be possible to equip the brand’s entire fleet with such systems by the cut-off date for the new EU directive of January 1, 2017. So in order to ensure that all other model series comply with the EU regulations on time, we have developed safe solutions for using the R1234yf synthetic refrigerant. As is generally well known, this refrigerant has a different ignition potential than the R134a refrigerant previously used in the automotive industry. In order to continue to offer our customers the same high degree of safety in the future, we have developed a comprehensive package of vehicle-specific measures that will ensure typical Mercedes-Benz safety in those models in which R1234yf is used. These measures, which will be implemented as needed, include a special protection component system for various vehicle configurations. In the event of a frontal collision, this system, which has since been patented, ensures that the refrigerant and air mixture remains separate from the hot components in the engine compartment and that the latter are also very effectively cooled. This is made possible by the use of a gas generator that sprays the protective gas argon onto the hot surfaces, thus protecting against fire.

The safety requirements of customers and the high safety standards at Mercedes-Benz will thus continue to be met in the future. The system also enables the Group to make a further contribution to climate protection.

Extensive recyclability of old vehicles

To make our vehicles more environmentally friendly, we are reducing our automobiles’ emissions and the resources they consume over their entire lifecycle. We therefore pay close attention to creating a recycling-friendly design already at the development stage. Up to 85 % of the materials in all Mercedes-Benz models are recyclable and as much as 95 % of the materials are reusable. This means we were in compliance with the new EU recycling directive before it even went into effect in 2015.

Other proven elements of our recycling concept are the resale of inspected and certified used parts, the remanufacturing of parts and the MeRSy Recycling Management workshop disposal system.

Avoiding waste

In the area of waste management, Daimler believes that recycling and the prevention of waste are better than disposal. Accordingly, the reconditioning and reuse of raw, process and operating materials has been standard practice at our plants for many years. In order to avoid the creation of waste from the outset, we use innovative technological processes and environmentally focused production planning. Waste materials that are unavoidable are generally recycled. As a result, the recycling rate for waste at our plants is approximately 91 % on average. At some plants, almost 100 % of the waste is now recycled, meaning that waste destined for landfills has been almost completely eliminated.

As we systematically pursue our environmental protection activities, we rely on comprehensive environmental management systems. Today, more than 98 % of our employees worldwide work in plants whose environmental management systems have been certified as conforming to the ISO 14001 or EMAS environmental standards.

Extensive measures for environmental protection in production

In recent years, we have been able to limit the energy consumption, CO2 emissions, production-related solvent emissions and noise at our plants with the help of environmentally friendly production processes. As a result, energy consumption during the period 2011–2015 increased by only 4.5 % to 10.9 million megawatt-hours, which was well below the rate of production growth. During the same period, CO2 emissions decreased by 6.1 % to a total of 3.2 million metric tons. Our ongoing energy-saving projects enabled us to counteract the additional energy consumption and CO2 emissions increase that resulted from the rise in production in 2015. Energy consumption per manufactured vehicle (car) in the reporting year decreased by 5.5 % from the prior year, and CO2 emissions declined by 5.7 %. With resource-conserving technology such as circulation systems, water consumption rose by slightly less than 1.1 % between 2011 and 2015, which was well below the rate of production growth. In relation to the number of vehicles we manufactured, we were able to reduce water consumption by 2.2 % compared with the prior year.

Innovation and safety