Daimler in French battery alliance

Stuttgart / Paris (dpa) – Daimler joins the battery cell alliance of Stellantis and Totalenergies to supply its electric cars, thereby strengthening a German-French flagship project.

The Mercedes car division -Benz will become a one-third equal shareholder in the Automotive Cells Company (ACC), as the Stuttgart-based company announced on Friday. Mercedes wants to invest a total of less than one billion euros, including a mid three-digit million amount in the coming year. In addition, the Swabians want to contribute technology and production know-how.

«Together with ACC we will develop and efficiently produce battery cells and modules in Europe – tailored to the specific requirements of Mercedes-Benz», said Daimler boss Ola Källenius. The French Stellantis group carries 14 car brands, including Peugeot, Opel or Fiat.

«Battery champion in Europe»

Federal Minister of Economics Peter Altmaier (CDU) spoke of a breakthrough. The cooperation between Germany and France should lead to a “battery champion in Europe”. Paris has long insisted on becoming more independent of Asia in battery production. The topic is a top priority there – President Emmanuel Macron already spoke at the beginning 2020 of the “Airbus of batteries”.

Daimler had only publicly decided in July to invest in battery cell plants itself to want to secure the supply of his future electric cars with batteries. Since then, Källenius has been looking for partners for the project to set up a production capacity of more than 200 gigawatt hours (GWh) of battery cells per year by the end of the decade. Up to 2030, Daimler wants to be able to sell only fully electric Mercedes-Benz cars, wherever market conditions allow. 200 Gigawatt hours of cell capacity would theoretically be sufficient for 2.5 million current Mercedes EQC models, each with 80 kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity storage.

The alliance with the auto giant Stellantis and the oil company Totalenergies is part of these efforts. According to Daimler, ACC wants to produce at least 120 gigawatt hours of battery cells per year by the end of the decade. How much of this is planned for Daimler was initially not known. From the middle of the decade, ACC will supply Mercedes-Benz with battery cells and modules from factories in Germany and France. The total investment in ACC is expected to amount to more than 7 billion euros.

European support

According to the Federal Ministry of Economics, the ACC consortium has been in existence since 2018 within the European Union and by France and Germany as part of a joint European project (IPCEI – Important Project of Common European Interest). “It can already be foreseen that tens of thousands of jobs will be created in battery cell production in Germany alone in the next few years,” said Altmaier.

Together with the Tesla project and the other 14 Projects funded as part of the European battery projects, Altmaier believes that Germany can become a focus of global battery production. “This is the most successful industrial policy project since Airbus to date.” Overall, almost 60 companies from 12 EU countries take part in both IPCEI projects in Europe. In addition, there are several 100 companies from Europe that indirectly benefit from the IPCEI as suppliers, research institutes or partners.

There is a real boom in battery cell production in Europe watch, it was said. The construction of several “gigafactories” is planned and partially implemented. Across Europe, up to 2030 around 100. 000 new jobs would be created in the battery sector. In Germany alone, the 16 funded IPCEI companies invested more than 13 billion euros and, according to the ministry, create around 10. 000 direct jobs.

Stellantis boss Carlos Tavares named Mercedes-Benz a strategic partner. This also wants to make ACC a leading company, said the native Portuguese, according to a press release. Car expert Ferdinand Dudenhöffer announced that Mercedes wanted to gain a foothold in the production of the most important components of the electric car. This is an important strategic decision.

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