By on November 6, 2014

2014-b-class-electric-drive-3

Though Daimler made $780 million off of its recent Tesla stake sale, CEO Dieter Zetsche says there’s no money in the EV stand.

AutoblogGreen reports Daimler is leasing its Mercedes B-Class Electric Drive for €399 ($498 USD) a month for 36 months with a down payment of €8,473 ($10,582) due at signing in European showrooms. Were Zetsche to have his way, however, those payments would be higher:

You can reasonably say that nobody today is making a battery-powered vehicle that’s economically viable in its own right. Manufacturers will not see a return within a reasonable time on the billions they’re investing now.

Zetsche’s remarks echo those of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO Sergio Marchionne, who would rather spend $10,000 on a more profitable product than lose said amount every time a Fiat 500e is sold. On the other hand, Nissan and Tesla — the latter having worked with Daimler on the B-Class Electric Drive — have found their respective gambles paying off thus far, though neither are planning to show their hands just yet.

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33 Comments on “Zetsche: There’s No Money In The EV Stand...”


  • avatar
    Lie2me

    So, the reality sets in EVs are not profitable, next…

  • avatar
    HerrKaLeun

    He is right, there is no money in for companies that overslept the trend and are technologically behind.

    The same way the Germans still deny hybrids are profitable. Well, they are. Just not for the OEM that missed the boat.

    I’m sure 5 more years of R&D and oil price spike will make EV viable for short distance for many. I’m not saying as a long distance or only car. But as second car for sure. In the engineering world havin thousands of Leaf, Volt and Tesla on the road and starting mass production is a great step towards much better and cheaper EV. Too bad some OEM will be left out.

    • 0 avatar
      Lie2me

      If a car can’t function as your primary vehicle it’s basically worthless. Kind of like investing in time-shares, if you can’t live in a real estate investment, it’s worthless

      • 0 avatar
        VoGo

        Maybe it’s worthless to you, Lie2me, but there are millions of families with 2+ vehicles who are fine with an EV as one of them. It all depends on how you use your vehicles.

        I mean, if EVs were truly worthless, then why is Tesla worth so much more than ‘mighty’ GM?

        • 0 avatar
          Lie2me

          There are millions of families with boats and RVs too, want to talk about their happiest day? (Hint, it’s the day they unload them at a fraction of what they paid)

          As far as Tesla having more “value” then GM, ever hear of the “Tulip Frenzy”?

          • 0 avatar
            VoGo

            But this is different, Lie2me,
            My family has 3 cars:
            – a minivan for the nanny to use during the week, and for family trips and weekend use
            – a commuter car for me
            – a commuter car for my wife.

            If my wife or I have a commute of less than 30 miles each way, then a Leaf or similar is a much smarter choice than a typical ICE sedan or CUV.

            I don’t understand your strident opposition to other people making good choices for themselves.

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            Ha, ha… you forgot the “/sarcasm”

        • 0 avatar
          danio3834

          “why is Tesla worth so much more than ‘mighty’ GM?”

          It’s not. If you’re talking about the share price alone, that’s wild stock market specualtion. By conventional standards which most stocks are judged, theirs should be doing very poorly.

          The fact that some major shareholders recently cashed out at the same time should signal to the rest that the boat ride is about to end.

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            Yeah, think “Tulips”

          • 0 avatar
            VoGo

            Danio,
            GM is worth $20B. Tesla is worth $29B.

            That would be more.

            If you think the market is wrong, then buy GM shares, short Tesla and make millions. Nothing is stopping you.

          • 0 avatar
            danio3834

            “GM is worth $20B. Tesla is worth $29B.

            That would be more.”

            You’re pulling numbers out of your butt. GM’s market cap is ~50B.

            BTW, I do own GM, and I have shorted Tesla.

          • 0 avatar
            VoGo

            Danio,
            You’re right. I don’t know what happened there – I was researching GM’s market cap yesterday and saw $20B – I must have misread it.

            Nevermind.

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            GM Market cap 49.37B – Google Finance

      • 0 avatar
        stuki

        ???

        So, every household with more than one car, has a bunch of worthless vehicles piled up in their driveway? Man, I never knew I was supposed to feel sorry for Jay Leno before……

        • 0 avatar
          VoGo

          No one made any such argument. My only point was that for many households with multiple vehicles, it makes sense to consider an EV.

          That doesn’t make ICE cars worthless, and says nothing about your feelings for Jay Leno.

        • 0 avatar
          Lie2me

          Every house with vehicles of limited use has a bunch of worthless vehicles piled up in their driveway… Ask the guy with a boat and/or RV parked in his driveway

    • 0 avatar
      Rod Panhard

      A lot of aviation companies just let the jet engine technology slip by too, just like an eel. They might as well close up shop and repurpose their tooling into the manufacturing of aluminum siding.

    • 0 avatar
      stuki

      Ecar tech is moving so fast that there isn’t much to being “technologically behind.” Parts suppliers will disrupt subsystems currently engineered at great expense by the final assembly car maker many times over, before (if ever) things settle down. Noone knows if the most cost effective batteries a few years from know will have dense storage but low discharge rates, or vice versa; requiring completely different approaches. Or even if that matters and I’m just babbling about what will turn out to be irrelevant nonsense. It’s still largely a wildcatting business.

      Fueled by waaaay too easy access to credit, leading to what is fairly certainly a substantial net destruction of value. As well as to an unusual and unsustainable relative advantage for greenfield players vis-a-vis established makes. At some point things will become more normal, and perhaps there are long term profitable niches for the stuff large enough make sense for a company of Daimler’s size to pursue. But that’s seemingly not yet.

    • 0 avatar
      Pch101

      EV technology has been with us for over a century. Every automaker could build one if it wanted to.

      The problem with EVs is with the batteries. If there is going to be a battery breakthrough, then it will come from a research lab, not from a manufacturing company.

      If that breakthrough ever happens, then every automaker will be able to build them quite easily. There’s no need to be early because the ramp up time would be nominal.

    • 0 avatar
      SatelliteView

      Buddy, have you been a sleep? Oil is hovering at $80 now. or about $26 a barrel in 1980 dollars.

  • avatar
    danio3834

    Pssh, what does Zetsche know? According to the B&B, this is the business model of the future.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    There’s always money, IN THE BANANA STAND!

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