Mercedes & GROB-WERKE intensify battery cooperation
Mercedes-Benz intensifies its cooperation with its longstanding partner GROB-WERKE GmbH, a German specialist in battery production and automation systems. This includes the assembly of both battery modules and battery packs which are to power Mercedes-EQ vehicles from 2025.
Apart from designing battery packs, the partners will jointly develop and construct battery production facilities for Mercedes’ global production network. GROB-WERKE thus becomes one of the first partners confirmed by Daimler for the planned extension to eight “gigafactories” for global cell production the carmaker announced in July. Commenting on the new cooperation, Mercedes said it was “strengthening its battery production capacity and know-how in the field of innovative manufacturing technology.”
The German carmaker already uses production systems from GROB WERKE in its battery plants. In future, the partners say they will work even more closely together to build “highly specialised production facilities in the spirit of ‘Design for Manufacturing’.”
Local battery production is a key differentiator for Mercedes-Benz. The company’s global battery production network will include nine battery factories on three continents, underscoring the company’s ambition to become fully electric before the end of the decade. However, that is “wherever market conditions permit”, as Daimler reportedly still banks on selling ICE models and hybrids in emerging markets in the near future.
Still, the battery production network is a “key pillar of the Mercedes-EQ model offensive,” said Jörg Burzer, Member of the Board of Management of Mercedes-Benz AG, Production and Supply Chain Management. “Through our partnership with GROB-WERKE, we want to leverage further potential in the area of manufacturing technology in terms of efficiency, digitisation and sustainability and thereby further expand our battery production capacity,” he added.
This could include works on a “standardised cell”, which Mercedes had first mentioned in July. While it is unlikely to go as far as the VW Group, “Next-generation batteries will be highly standardized and suitable for use in more than 90% of all Mercedes-Benz cars and vans,” the company said. However, it remains unclear whether that means a standardised modular system with different formats or a rigid format with different cell chemistries for the respective segments.
What is clear are which plants will supply batteries for the Mercedes-EQ electric vehicles. Mercedes-Benz already manufactures battery systems at plants in Kamenz (Saxony), Hedelfingen (Stuttgart), as well as in Bangkok (Thailand), Beijing (China) and Jawor (Poland). Furthermore, facilities in Stuttgart and Tuscaloosa, USA, are preparing for production in 2022. In addition, a battery plant is also to be built at the Sindelfingen plant near Stuttgart.