‘The rules of the game are set to change for us with the transition to zero local emissions,’ says head of Mercedes-Benz product and strategy, Wilko Stark.

Yes, Mercedes has its very own Stark – though he showed no sign of donning a flying suit and taking on any comic book characters on this occasion. Rather, speaking at a Mercedes tech day in Stuttgart entitled the road to the future, he outlined parent company Daimler’s plans to spend €14.5bn on research and development, half of which will go on green technologies, with €5.4bn heading for cars alone.

The fruits of these labours will include introducing a scalable all-electric vehicle platform before the end of the decade. But perhaps even more radically, Mercedes confirms it will put a plug-in hybrid hydrogen fuel cell version of the GLC into production in 2017.

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