Daimler is pressing ahead with its goal of emissions-free driving, maintaining the company's current R&D expenditures, despite the global economic slowdown, says Henning Kleuver, control manager at Daimler.
The Mercedes-Benz B Class F-Cell and the smart e-drive are among the company's latest contributions to sustainable mobility, Kleuver said in a presentation to some 50 members of IESE's German Business Club.
Kleuver, who is a current participant in IESE's Global Executive MBA, took time out from the program's intensive schedule to share his insights with students of the full-time MBA program on recent developments at Daimler.
Limited series production for the Mercedes-Benz B Class F-Cell and the smart e-drive began in November 2009, while the start of series production of an A-Class E-Cell is set for October 2010.
While advances in electro-mobility present "new engineering challenges," said Kleuver, the driving landscape is headed for change. "IT has become the backbone of everything."
New business ideas have become pivotal for the company, which is currently the world's second largest maker of luxury cars. He cited Car2Go, Daimler's environmentally-friendly rental program that currently operates in Austin, Texas and Ulm, Germany. Customers can use iPhones to make reservations and access a range of other services, he pointed out.
But as quiet electric-powered cars become more prevalent, urban dwellers are in for big changes, he warned. "You don't hear them - that will change the behavior of traffic.'
One of Daimler's key goals is to fully transform itself into a "knowledge-based company," he concluded. In this model, shared collective knowledge within the firm surpasses the results of individual input.