Mercedes-Benz and CATL team up for leadership in future battery technology and agree on the supply of carbon-neutrally produced battery cells.
Mercedes-Benz and CATL team up for leadership in future battery technology and agree on the supply of carbon-neutrally produced battery cells.
( Source: Daimler AG)

ELECTRIC FIRST Key suppliers collaborate to achieve leadership in battery technology

Editor: Johanna Erbacher

Mercedes-Benz and CATL (Contemporary Amperex Technology Co., Limited) have announced an expanded partnership in the field of battery technology. One of the aims of the two partners is to drive forward the industrialization of lithium-ion batteries in Germany.

Mercedes-Benz and CATL (Contemporary Amperex Technology Co., Limited) have entered the next stage of their strategic partnership and will create cutting-edge battery technology in support of the high-volume electrification of the Mercedes-Benz model portfolio. They accelerating its "Electric First" strategy with advanced, 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 technologies, from cells across modules for passenger cars to entire battery systems for 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.

Electrification of its model portfolio with innovative battery technologies

Battery cells are at the heart of highly complex battery systems. Their chemistry contributes significantly to the performance, range and service life of electric vehicles. The two partners have already started working on future battery generations to be introduced in a number of vehicles within the next few years. The clear goal is to shorten development cycles, significantly increase the ranges of future batteries through advances in energy density and reduce charging times. 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.

Battery products from carbon-neutral production

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, 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, the partners 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

Industrialization of a key technology in Germany

The strategic partnership between Mercedes-Benz and CATL accelerates the further development and industrialization of state-of-the-art battery technologies in Germany. With the construction of the CATL plant in Thuringia, CATL is developing a European service system in order to offer the automotive manufacturer more competitive products and a smooth supply chain. This will enable Mercedes-Benz to further increase the degree of localization in procurement and to source battery products from the CATL plant near Erfurt in the future. In order to maintain its competitiveness, the company continues to rely on a balanced supplier structure.

Within its global production network, the automotive manufacturer is concentrating 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 plants at seven locations on three continents. The manufacturer places great emphasis on local battery production in order to be able to meet the worldwide demand of the electric vehicle industry flexibly and efficiently.