Union wants Daim­ler to fo­cus on evees

The Witness - Wheels - - MOTORING -

AROUND the world, the future of diesel cars is darker than the cloud of toxic fumes from their ex­hausts.

Lon­don, Paris and the Nether­lands have al­ready de­clared they will ban all diesel ve­hi­cles in the near future, while New Delhi tried this ban ear­lier this year.

That is the bad news for lovers of the high lev­els of torque that turbo diesel en­gines pro­vide. The good news is that elec­tric mo­tors pro­vide lots more torque, in­stantly, and elec­tric trucks and cars are al­ready be­ing built to drive in these cities.

With the end of the in­ter­nal com­bus­tion en­gine on the hori­zon, the union boss at Daim­ler last week said the com­pany must in­vest more in elec­tric ve­hi­cles to pro­tect future jobs.

An elec­tric ve­hi­cle re­quires at least 10 times fewer parts than one driven by an in­ter­nal com­bus­tion en­gine and Michael Brecht, a vice-chair­per­son of Daim­ler’s su­per­vi­sory board and works coun­cil chief, said Daim­ler should avert the job losses elec­tric cars will cause at its parts man­u­fac­tur­ing plants sim­ply by get­ting these plants to make com­po­nents for elec­tric en­gines.

Daim­ler is the world’s lead­ing pre­mium car maker, em­ploy­ing 284 000 peo­ple. Sim­i­lar to other listed Ger­man com­pa­nies, half of its su­per­vi­sory board is made up of labour rep­re­sen­ta­tives who col­lec­tively have power to block com­pany de­ci­sions.

Brecht told Reuters such a move can save the jobs of 19 000 peo­ple cur­rently em­ployed to make en­gines, trans­mis­sions and axles at just one of Daim­ler’s many fac­to­ries.

Brecht said the works coun­cil want the Ger­man Daim­ler sites to par­tic­i­pate in the com­pany’s elec­tric car strat­egy, not only in re­search and de­vel­op­ment but also in man­u­fac­tur­ing.

But Brecht does not like the idea of a future with small, lo­calised fac­to­ries mak­ing any­thing on de­mand.

This is the future ac­cord­ing to the likes of Pro­fes­sor Gor­don Mur­ray with his iStream de­sign, John Rogers of Ari­zona-based Lo­cal Mo­tors, and Daim­ler’s chief ex­ec­u­tive Di­eter Zetsche.

Brecht urged cau­tion against Zetsche’s vi­sion to move em­ploy­ees into col­lec­tive “swarm or­gan­i­sa­tions” as part of his drive to en­cour­age entrepreneurial free­dom and a more ex­per­i­men­tal ap­proach to prod­ucts.

Brecht told Reuters Zetsche’s cam­paign may need cer­tain frame­work rules to avoid ask­ing too much of em­ploy­ees. — Wheels Re­porter.

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