Mercedes-Benz and everybody’s favourite EV battery-maker, Contemporary Amperex Technology Co Limited (CATL), have announced the entering of the next stage of their strategic partnership. This next level will see them “create cutting-edge battery technology in support of the high-volume electrification of the Mercedes-Benz model portfolio.”
The Stuttgart-based premium carmaker is accelerating its “Electric First” strategy with CO2-neutrally produced battery cells, modules and systems supplied by CATL, a technology leader in lithium-ion batteries. The agreement covers the full range of battery tech, from cells across modules for Mercedes-Benz Cars to entire battery systems for Mercedes-Benz Vans. This also includes the CATL cell-to-pack (CTP) design, which eliminates conventional modules and integrates the cells directly into the battery.
“We intend to lead in battery technologies, so we are now combining our own R&D 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. CATL will be a major supplier securing capacity for the next generations of our EQ products in the years to come,” said Markus Schafer, board member at both Daimler and Mercedes-Benz.
The two parties have already started working on future battery generations to be introduced in a number of vehicles within the next few years. The goal is to shorten development cycles, significantly increase the ranges of future batteries (through advances in energy density) and reduce charging times.
While that sounds rather generic, the target is specific and in black and white – Mercedes-Benz says that the EQS flagship limo, which will be delivered to customers in 2021, has a development goal of over 700 km in electric range (WLTP) and a doubling of charging speed compared to current models. The EQS will be equipped with CATL cell modules.
Mercedes has its “Ambition2039” long-term vision of a climate-neutral new passenger car fleet, and is actively driving the transformation to CO2-neutrality. CATL is onboard and will use electricity from renewable energy sources, such as wind, solar and hydropower for its production.
Early this year, the duo launched a joint pilot project using blockchain tech 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.
Lastly, the partnership accelerates the development of battery technology in Germany. With the construction of CATL’s Thuringia plant, CATL is developing a European service system to offer Mercedes-Benz more competitive products, as well as a smooth supply. This will allow the German carmaker to further increase the degree of localisation in procurement and to purchase from the CATL plant near Erfurt in the future.
Sounds like a good marriage, right? Thing is, CATL doesn’t sound like the kind who’s into exclusive relationships – highly sought after, the Shenzhen-listed, Ningde-based company is also in bed with Honda and Tesla, among other carmakers. More on the upcoming Mercedes-Benz EQS here.
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