Daimler To Executives: If You Want A Company Car, You’ll Have To Choose One That Plugs In

Like us, you might have assumed that one of the perks of being a reasonably senior manager at a major automaker would be the ability to pick any vehicle your company made as your own personal company car. Aside from the obvious benefits of having its employees driving around in its own vehicles, such arrangements are also a cost-effective solution for the automaker in question, since they are often able to register company cars on special ‘manufacturer’ license plates, skipping the usual middlemen of leasing companies and dealers altogether.

Of course not all automakers offer their own vehicles as company cars, and those that do usually leave it up to the individual to pick a vehicle from a selection of appropriately-priced models commensurate with their position. The higher the position, the more luxurious and expensive the company car is.

Practicing what they preach? Daimler wants its execs to plug in.

Practicing what they preach? Daimler wants its execs to plug in.

Not so at German automaker Daimler, which has announced a massive change to its executive company car program in order to encourage its employees to lead by example, decreeing that it will soon limit company car choices for executives at its Stuttgart headquarters to all-electric or plug-in hybrid models.

As MotorTrend reported earlier this week, the decision is part of a big electric vehicle push from the automaker, which has dramatically increased the number of plug-in hybrid and all-electric models produced across its various brands in recent years. These include the 2016 Mercedes-Benz C350e plug-in hybrid sedan, the Mercedes-Benz S550e plug-in hybrid sedan (sold as the S500e in Europe) the 2016 GLE500e 4Matic plug-in hybrid and GLC350e 4Matic plug-in hybrid SUVs, and all-new 2016 Mercedes-Benz E350e plug-in hybrid.

There are a host of different plug-in hybrids available to Daimler executives in Germany.

There are a host of different plug-in hybrids available to Daimler executives in Germany.

Most of these models, introduced in the last two years, combine a small lithium-ion battery pack offering between 10 and 15 miles of real-world range with a conventional gasoline engine mated to an automatic gearbox and powerful electric motor.

There’s also the B-class electric drive too, as well as the diminutive Smart ForTwo ED, although we’re guessing Daimler’s executives are unlikely to choose the latter.

Of the cars listed above, only the S550e, B-class ED and Smart ForTwo ED are available in the U.S., with the rest of the listed models already available in Daimler’s home market of Germany, explaining why Daimler’s program will begin in Stuttgart as a pilot project before extending elsewhere around the world.

Talking to MotorTrend, Daimler AG board member Ola Källenius said that the program is meant to “establish consistency” for Daimler’s zero emissions initiatives, adding that “This is why we are making electric mobility an integral part of the everyday lives of our top management to set an example and to provide a clear role model.”

In addition to the new company policy for executive company cars, MotorTrend reports that Daimler has invested €30 million (about $33 million U.S.) on helping expand public electric car charging provision in Germany. So far, that has helped bring more than 556 charging stations to the area around Daimler’s headquarters alone, ensuring employees have plenty of places to plug in.

For those who aren’t senior management, Daimler also offers its employees a special program offering cut-price lease deals on electric and plug-in hybrid cars compared to conventional and hybrid-powered vehicles. Combined, these two programs hope to change the way that Mercedes-Benz employees think and feel about electric cars, and help staff better understand the needs and desires of plug-in car customers.

...Not to mention the B-Class electric drive.

…Not to mention the B-Class electric drive.

While the scheme has yet to expand beyond Germany, we’re hopeful that Mercedes-Benz will bring a similar scheme to other key markets. It would be especially apopro in Georgia. That’s because legislators there voted last year to give Mercedes-Benz staff a special reduced-fee deal on company car taxes just days after killing the state’s long-standing electric car incentive program as a way of ensuring Mercedes-Benz kept its headquarters in the Peach State.

Do you think automakers should lead by example? Should executives be forced to drive cleaner, greener vehicles? And will leading by example really work?

Leave your thoughts in the Comments below.


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  • Ad van der Meer

    Ok, so now Zetsche has a plug in hybrid. Question remains: Will he (or rather his driver) use that plug on a regular basis?

  • Johnny Larsen

    It does not matter much what Daimler does on their plugin cars. Very small batteries with almost no range and highly pollution gasolineengines to top it of. 4.4 kW batteries can barely give start aid to it self and 8.8 kilometers pr liter is no good. My old Volvo V40 from 2008 does 16 kilometers pr liter and my Renault Fluence Z.E does about 80 miles on a full charge of 22kw.

  • Albemarle

    Can’t hurt. Might help. Gets them free publicity without really annoying the executives.

  • D. Harrower

    Well, at least they aren’t moaning about how much money they lose everytime someone buys an EV anymore. Now, if only they made vehicles that could drive further than down the block…

  • Electric Bill

    This somehow reminds me of the very welcome (to me) but somewhat awkward no-smoking policies, legislation and smoker backlash that began here in California 20 or so years ago.

    It seemed to have started at Carl’s Jr. restaurants as just company policy, but when legislators saw that those same restaurants suddenly became more popular with customers as a way to escape cigarette smoke while dining, it emboldened legislators to pass stronger and more restrictive laws and fines for smoking in restaurants, theaters, hospitals and other places, which then resulted in a significant increase in people quitting smoking; it led to such bans spreading to other states and countries as politicians found the benefits of smoke-free spaces: more people spend more money in places they do not have to tolerate people’s cigarette smoke.

    It’s a kind of a benign virus, really.

    As we see Daimler, BMW, Porsche and others suddenly, dramatically shift their focus to EVs, legislators are likewise emboldened to make new buildings plug-in ready; the public become trusting of the technology. Children begin asking Mommy and Daddy to get the new, exciting electric cars like their friend’s daddy has.

    Most larger, older city street lights used to be wired to provide power to 500-Watt incandescent bulbs. Like many cities, L.A. will eventually have all such street lighting replaced with LEDs which only draw 80 watts and provide pleasant, full-spectrum light. That leaves those light posts with about 420 watts of potential alternate use.. L.A.’s mayor, Eric Garcetti, last year proposed adaoting many of them for EV charging stations.

    I have yet to see any such light post conversions, but it is a clever and progressive idea, and now it is up to us Angelenos to prod the mayor to act on this proposal… I expect once it is initiated, other cities here and abroad may copy it.

    A tipping point is inevitable, when there is sufficient saturation of EV use that one day, voilà– no one will want to be the laggard driving last century’s mode of locomotion. ICE cars will sit unwanted and unreliable on the car dealer’s lot.