The new Mercedes-Benz E-Class debuted this week with carryover engines from its predecessor but generally speaking, this isn’t a path the automaker will continue to follow in the coming years. Instead, Mercedes will focus on electric vehicles as it finds them “technically superior” to combustion engines, even if they work on e-fuels. The company’s CEO, Ola Kalleniues, recently told a German newspaper Mercedes will favour EVs over vehicles with combustion engines.

"The electric car is still a young technology compared to the combustion engine," Kallenius told the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, cited by Automotive News. "We still see great potential for progress: the electric drive will overtake the internal combustion engine in terms of performance before the end of this decade."

Gallery: 2024 Mercedes-Benz E-Class

Even though Mercedes will continue to sell combustion-powered cars in the years to come, it will focus mainly on the development of more efficient and greener electric machines. The brand’s CEO said Mercedes will develop electric-only vehicle architectures and will adapt them to accommodate ICEs when the case makes a business case. Ultimately, the firm wants to reach CO2 neutrality in balance sheet terms by 2039.

Generally speaking, Mercedes intends to keep making internal combustion engines more efficient and meet the new Euro 7 emissions standards. However, around the middle of the decade, the marque will have reduced investments in ICEs by as much as 80 percent compared to today. China will likely remain the last key market where combustion engines will be available but they will be sold only as plug-in hybrids developed together with local partners from Geely.

The shift to electric energy doesn’t mean Mercedes will change its positioning in the market. Kallenius reiterated the company will focus on the high-end market but will also offer its customers entry-level luxury cars. "The new technology we are developing for our luxury models to ensure ecological sustainability will also be used in other cars at some point in the future," Kallenius explained.

Note: New 2024 Mercedes-Benz E-Class pictured in the gallery.