Combustion engines expected to dominate another decade or two, says Dieter Zetsche

Article by Christian Andrei, on September 30, 2011

Mercedes-Benz CEO Dieter Zetsche told Motor Trend that the internal combustion engine is expected to dominate for “another one or two decades.” While the timeline comes as a surprise, it isn’t so far off from the other automakers’ predictions. Hyundai Motor America CEO John Krafcik said that by 2015, about 15-20% of its fleet will be composed of hybrids, while 5% are fully electric or fuel cell.

Zetsche warned that within the next five years, no money will be made from vehicles that have alternative powertrains. However, Toyota is likely to contradict this statement since it has had success with the mass sales of its hybrids.

Mercedes unveiled its F125 concept at the recent Frankfurt Auto Show. It has been 125 years since this vehicle was invented by Mercedes. The F125 is a hydrogen fuel cell powered car that has a 620-mile range. It is equipped with an electric motor at each wheel and it generates an output of 231hp, enabling it go to from zero to 60mph in 4.9 seconds.

Krafcik further said that the mass-production of green-technology alternative powertrains relies a lot on China, which is boosting the electric car industry as it anticipates oil supplies to be limited and unable to support future growth of the auto market in the country.

Zetsche said that it’s a matter of timing, saying that maybe his estimates are a little optimistic. He also said that EV car development and infrastructure growth has been slower in China than was previously expected. Nevertheless, the automaker still trusts China’s goals related to green cars mainly because it doesn’t really have a choice.

Topics: dieter zetsche

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