The Mercedes-Benz logo on a car on display at the company’s annual news conference in Stuttgart, Germany. Picture: REUTERS/MICHAELA REHLE
The Mercedes-Benz logo on a car on display at the company’s annual news conference in Stuttgart, Germany. Picture: REUTERS/MICHAELA REHLE

Frankfurt — Daimler will push electric and hybrid cars more aggressively after tougher emissions tests showed that pollution levels in Europe at Mercedes-Benz Cars rose 7% in 2018.

EU regulators forced the vehicle industry to cut greenhouse gas emissions drastically to mitigate the effect of global warming, forcing a 40% cut in carbon dioxide emissions between 2007 and 2021.

However, an emissions-test-cheating scandal at Volkswagen in 2015 caused regulators to introduce more stringent testing methods to reflect real-world driving conditions, which has caused average emissions readings to rise across the industry.

The new procedures combined with a shift in customer tastes towards heavier sports utility vehicles (SUVs) lifted average fleet emissions levels at the company's Mercedes and Smart passenger cars in Europe to 134g of carbon dioxide per km in 2018, up from 125g in 2017.

This makes it harder to lower average fleet emissions levels to a target of 105g/km by 2021.

"It will lead to even stronger electrification," said Jochen Hermann, vice-president of eDrive development at Mercedes-Benz Cars.

Mercedes-Benz Cars will increase the number of hybrid and electric vehicles to 20 models by 2020, up from five models in 2018. By 2025 up to 40% of passenger cars will be electric or hybrid cars, Daimler said.

"We expect to meet the target," a spokesperson said about the 2021 expectations.

EU legislators agreed in December to a further 37.5% cut in carbon dioxide emissions between 2021 and 2030.

Reuters