Mercedes-Benz and the Chinese battery cell manufacturer CATL have expanded their partnership. The two companies intend to cooperate more closely in research and development, while Mercedes-Benz will be supplied with cells from CATL’s cell factory near Erfurt, currently under construction.
According to the car manufacturer, the agreement covers “the entire range of battery technologies, from cells and modules for Mercedes-Benz passenger cars to complete batteries for Mercedes-Benz vans”. In what is being called individual projects, Daimler will also use the Cell-to-Pack Technology (CTP) developed by CATL, in which the cells are integrated directly into the battery pack, meaning that conventional modules are no longer required. CATL presented the technology at the IAA 2019.
The aim of the extended cooperation is to shorten development cycles, significantly increase the range of future batteries through advances in energy density and to significantly reduce charging times. “We intend to lead in battery technology, so we are now combining our own research and development expertise with bold partners. Working with CATL will see us accelerate our transformation towards carbon-neutrality,” says Markus Schäfer, Daimler Board Member for Research and COO of Mercedes-Benz Cars. CATL will be an important supplier for “securing capacities for the next generations of our EQ products”.
Daimler wants to reduce the total CO2 footprint of a battery by “well over 30 per cent”. Zhou Jia, president of CATL says “CATL will ensure CO2 neutral battery production and maximize CO2 reduction in the battery supply chain for the next-generation Mercedes-Benz EQ starting with the EQS.”
The Mercedes-Benz EQS announced for the coming year will be equipped with CATL cell modules, among other things, and will thus achieve a WLTP range of over 700 kilometres. In addition, the electric luxury sedan is to achieve a doubling of the charging speed compared to current models. Mercedes-Benz intends to source battery products from CATL’s plant near Erfurt, currently under construction.
Daimler intends to maintain its own assembly of battery modules from purchased cells. This means the global battery production network will assemble the batteries for the respective vehicle production plants locally in nine factories on three continents – for example in Kamenz in Germany. It’s not yet clear in which models CATL assembled modules or the CTP batteries will be used.
So far, Mercedes has purchased battery cells from LG Chem, SK Innovation and also from CATL. At the beginning of July, the carmaker also announced its entry into the Chinese battery cell manufacturer Farasis Energy: Mercedes is taking a “Euro amount in the millions” to acquire a three per cent stake in Farasis and thus receives the promise of a secure supply of battery cells for the upcoming electrical offensive, while Farasis receives planning security for capacity expansion. Farasis already planned plant in Bitterfeld-Wolfen will then primarily supply the German Mercedes plants.
Including reporting by Sebastian Schaal