With "Ambition2039", Mercedes-Benz is pursuing the long-term vision of a climate-neutral new passenger car fleet and is actively driving the transformation to CO2-neutrality. In order to minimize the carbon footprint of current and future vehicle generations, Mercedes-Benz has expanded its partnerships with two manufacturers of battery cells.
Mercedes-Benz is accelerating its "Electric First" strategy with advanced, CO2-neutrally produced battery cells, modules and systems supplied by Contemporary Amperex Technology Co. Limited (CATL), a technology leader in lithium-ion batteries. The agreement covers the full range of battery technologies, from cells across modules for Mercedes-Benz passenger cars to entire battery systems for Mercedes-Benz Vans in promising innovative technology configurations. This also includes the CATL cell-to-pack (CTP) design, which eliminates conventional modules and integrates the cells directly into the battery. In order to make electrification even more attractive for customers in the luxury segment, the goals set are ambitious: With the EQS luxury sedan, which will be delivered to customers next year, the development goal is a long-distance range of more than 700 km (WLTP range) and a doubling of the charging speed compared to current models. The Mercedes-Benz EQS will also be equipped with CATL cell modules.
”We intend to lead in battery technologies, so we are now combining our own research and development expertise with bold partners. We will integrate cutting-edge battery systems to create luxury cars with outstanding range, charging speed, safety and sustainability. Working with CATL will see us accelerate our transformation towards carbon-neutrality,” said Markus Schäfer, Member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG and Mercedes-Benz AG, responsible for Daimler Group Research and Mercedes-Benz Cars COO. “CATL will be a major supplier securing capacity for the next generations of our EQ products in the years to come.“
“Mercedes-Benz is a special and important partner to CATL. We are very pleased to further expand and upgrade the partnership for both parties’ future development. Mercedes invented the car more than 130 years ago and has developed its technology with countless innovations. This combined with CATL’s expertise in battery, will be a decisive step in both parties’ electrification strategies,” said Dr. Robin Zeng, Founder, Chairman and CEO of CATL. “Together we will collaborate on developing and delivering reliable, competitive solutions to promote worldwide e-mobility.”
With the Chinese battery cell manufacturer Farasis Energy (Ganzhou) Co., Ltd., there has already been launched a far-reaching strategic partnership including taking an equity stake. Key elements of the agreement include the development and industrialization of highly advanced cell technologies, accompanied by ambitious goals for cost competitiveness. The contract will provide a secure source of supply of battery cells for Mercedes-Benz’s electrification strategy, while Farasis gains security for its planned construction of production capacity.
With this strategic partnership Mercedes-Benz is deepening its sustainability activities and further strengthening its existing business relationship with the battery cell supplier by taking a stake of around three percent. To this end, Daimler Greater China is investing a multi-million euro amount as part of Farasis' IPO. This equity stake is conditional upon required regulatory approvals. Current contracts with Farasis have been supplemented and include, in addition to technical and commercial contractual components, expanded legal and sustainability requirements. Under certain technological and commercial conditions, the supplier can join projects for the next generations of the Mercedes-Benz EQ products at an early stage. As a strategic partner, Farasis is a fixed cornerstone in the existing set of Mercedes-Benz battery cell suppliers. A balanced supplier set is the basis for access to the best possible technology and a prerequisite for competitiveness.
Local battery production is also an important success factor for the company’s electrification strategy and the key element in being able to flexibly and efficiently meet the global demand for electric vehicles. Within its global production network, Mercedes-Benz focuses on the production of highly efficient battery systems and the establishment of a global battery production network. In the future, it will consist of nine factories at seven locations on three continents.
Sustainability as an integral part of the partnership
Mercedes-Benz and Farasis had already agreed on a sustainability partnership in the summer of 2019. The first result was the production of battery cells with electricity from renewable energies such as hydropower, wind and solar energy. For example, the next generation of EQ vehicles, including the EQS luxury sedan, will in part be equipped with CO2-neutral battery cells. Daimler Greater China's investment in the battery cell manufacturer is actively driving forward the development of a key technology for electric mobility and its industrialization. In China, the battery cell supplier has built a plant in Zhenjiang that will be CO2-neutral. A production site in Bitterfeld-Wolfen in eastern Germany is currently being planned and will be CO2-neutral from the start. An additional plant in the U.S. will follow. This is in line with the Mercedes-Benz strategy of buying where production takes place.
CATL will use electricity from renewable energy sources, such as wind, solar and hydropower for its production. CO2-neutral battery cell production alone can save over 30% of the CO2 footprint of an entire battery. At the beginning of 2020, Mercedes-Benz and CATL had launched a joint pilot project using blockchain technology to create transparency on the emissions of climate-damaging gases and the proportion of secondary material along the battery cell supply chain. The next step is to significantly reduce the reliance on raw material mining through the recycling of end-of-life batteries.