Mercedes-Benz has signed the next stage of its strategic deal with CATL for battery technology. The two will combine their battery research and development for the Mercedes-Benz EQS that will launch next year with a range of over 700 km
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 new technology configurations that Mercedes calls “promising”. 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 research and development expertise with bold partners,” said Markus Schäfer. He is a Member of the Board of Management of both Daimler and Mercedes-Benz, responsible for Daimler Group Research and Mercedes-Benz Cars COO. “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.“
“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. 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 (Contemporary Amperex Technology Ltd). “Together we will collaborate on developing and delivering reliable, competitive solutions to promote worldwide e-mobility.”
The two companies 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.
With the EQS luxury sedan, which will be delivered to customers next year, the development goal for the CATL cell modules is a long-distance range of more than 700 km (WLTP range) and a doubling of the charging speed compared to current models.
“Daimler will continue to strengthen its global competitiveness and enhance efficiency by working with strong and innovative partners to pursue our future strategy, including electric mobility. In China, we have established strong cooperation with key industry and technology players over the years that have contributed not only to our strong growth momentum but also brought efficiency in production, purchasing and research and development,” said Hubertus Troska, Member of the Board of Management of Daimler responsible for Greater China.
To minimize the carbon footprint of current and future vehicle generations, the partners have agreed to the carbon-neutral production of battery products. To enable this, 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 already 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.
“Within the framework of this newly established strategic partnership, CATL fully commits to Mercedes-Benz AG’s sustainability goals including ‘Ambition 2039’. This includes sustainable production with renewable energy, the minimum CO2 footprint in terms of logistics within the whole supply chain and respect for all aspects of social responsibility. 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,” said Zhou Jia, president of CATL. “I am convinced that this partnership will open new opportunities for both companies to create a sustainable business and speed-up the transition of our industry.”
The construction of CATL’s Thuringia plant, its first outside China, is key to this, developing a European service system to offer Mercedes-Benz more competitive products, as well as a smooth supply. This will allow Mercedes-Benz to further increase the degree of localization in procurement and to purchase battery products from the CATL plant near Erfurt in the future.
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