Mercedes has reportedly cancelled the MB.EA-Large platform planned for 2028. The carmaker is reacting to weak demand for electric cars and high development costs.

Development of the platform for an electric S-Class has been halted, reported Handelsblatt, on Monday morning. When contacted, Mercedes confirmed this information, writes Automobilwoche. According to this document, the manufacturer wants to be flexible when it comes to dividing production capacity between combustion and electric cars. This would also avoid heavy investment in production facilities.

While compact vehicles such as the CLA are to be based on the MMA platform, the MB.EA platform (for Mercedes-Benz Electric Architecture) has until now been intended for larger models. This will continue to provide the basis for mid-range vehicles such as the C-Class and GLC. These cars have already been developed and are due to be launched in 2026. Mercedes does not want to change any more of this, according to the report.

Mercedes wants to use the EVA2 platform for longer in the future for larger models in the middle and upper classes. This platform supports the EQE and EQS as well as their SUV derivatives. EVA2 models will soon be upgraded to 800-volt technology. Improvements in design and infotainment are also expected. Changes have already been made to the EQS.

The E-Class, renewed in 2023, and the current generation of the S-Class, launched in 2021, will apparently not be replaced in 2028 by electric cars based on the MB.EA-Large platform. The date of their demise is likely to depend on demand; it would appear that the EVA2 models are wanted as an electric alternative.

Recently, company chairman Ola Källenius told Mercedes' AGM that the aim was to have a carbon-neutral new car fleet by 2039, across the entire value chain. "However, the transformation could take longer than expected". That's why the company wants to be prepared for all market scenarios. If the demand is there, there will be electric cars and combustion cars in parallel "well into the 2030s". We're keeping all the powertrains up to date, so we can manufacture combustion and electric cars on the same production line. "And then it's up to the customer."

Mercedes estimates that electric cars and plug-in hybrids will account for up to 50% of its sales in the second half of this decade, according to the Automobilwoche report. Until now, Mercedes' statement on the abandonment of combustion cars was clear: only battery-electric cars would be produced by 2030 at the latest, but only "where market conditions allow".

In conclusion

Until now, Mercedes has always looked pretty electro-affirmative, but the brand now looks a lot like BMW. The situation has changed dramatically. A few years ago, manufacturers were vying with each other to announce the abandonment of combustion vehicles, but today we're talking more about flexibility.

Business leaders have always had to make choices. Do they want to opportunistically follow the demand of the moment, or help a new technology to break through against all the odds? Without visionaries, we still wouldn't have electric cars or smartphones. Customers weren't eager for either of these products, but Tesla and Apple launched them anyway and ended up being hugely successful.