Daimler and its luxury Mercedes-Benz brand are renowned for being pioneers in the field of automotive technological developments. But being at the forefront of technology doesn’t come cheap and despite the high cost of investment Daimler intends to keep its reputation. In fact, the carmaker expects to spend more than $21 billion on research and development in coming years.

Speaking at Daimler’s annual general meeting, CEO Dieter Zetsche explained that there are several different avenues worth exploring in developing tomorrow’s mobility technology and that investment should be spread across a number of solutions. “These efforts are all the more important because there is no single technology that’s clearly superior to all of the others,” he explained to shareholders.

Daimler invested more than $6 billion in research and development and another $2.7 million for environmental protection last year, reports TheCarConnetion. “In the coming years we’ll increase these budgets even more and by 2010 we’ll invest $21 billion in research and development,” Zetsche said. “To date, Daimler has made more progress with fuel cell technology than any another automaker and we plan to expand our lead in this area.”

Engineers are also focusing on developing new battery technology. Zetsche explained that researchers had developed new lithium-ion batteries for automotive applications and have already protected it with 25 patents.

Other areas that will absorb investment dollars including expanding sales in Brazil, Russia, China and India, which now accounts for 20% of total vehicle sales. Daimler also intends to expand into none-core areas such as insurance and service operations in the near future.