Local battery production is an important success factor for Mercedes-Benz AG’s electric offensive and the key element to meet the global demand for electrified vehicles flexibly and efficiently. The company is therefore investing more than €1 billion to establish a global battery production network. The network will consist of nine battery factories at seven locations in Europe, North America and Asia.
In this, Mercedes-Benz’s wholly owned subsidiary Accumotive in Kamenz, Saxony will play a special role. As the competence center for the global battery production network, it has been producing drivetrain batteries for electric and electrified vehicles from Mercedes-Benz and smart as well as light commercial vehicles since 2012.
Battery production at Mercedes-Benz subsidiary Accumotive in Kamenz. Source: Daimler
After the second plant—designed from the outset to be CO2-neutral—went into operation in 2018, the Mercedes-Benz subsidiary successively increased its production capacities and volumes. The annual production volume will soon exceed half a million battery systems for hybrid, plug-in hybrid and purely electric vehicles. The plant is also preparing for the next milestone of the product and technology brand EQ, which will also offer electric variants in the compact segment.
The company is gradually increasing its production capacities. The second battery factory at the Kamenz plant produces battery systems for the Mercedes-Benz EQC (combined power consumption: 20.8-19.7 kWh/100 km), among other things. Producing this highly complex lithium-ion battery requires multiple production lines that are approximately 170 meters long, each with more than 30 production stations and with a high number of production steps. The battery systems consist of 384 battery cells and many other components. The battery cells are welded with a laser with a tolerance of 2µm using modern automation technology.
As a competence center within our global battery-production network, the Kamenz site—with its broad product portfolio—plays a decisive role in the implementation of our “Electric first” offensive. Flexibility is the decisive feature of our global production network of vehicle and powertrain plants. Our goal is an organic global network in which production capacities can be flexibly shifted between plants around the world. With more than 10 fully electric EQ models and a large number of plug-in hybrid and hybrid vehicles—for which we produce the battery systems here in Kamenz and within our global network—we can flexibly and efficiently meet the worldwide demand for electric and hybrid vehicles and gradually increase the electrical share within our vehicle range.
With the plant expansion and successive production ramp-up, we have now expanded production in Kamenz to such an extent that we will soon exceed an annual production volume of more than half a million lithium-ion batteries—and that number will rise. Together with our colleagues in research and development and many partners and suppliers around the world, we ensure that the batteries for our electric and electrified vehicles meet the high-quality standards of Mercedes-Benz. We are also getting ready for the next generation of EQ models in Kamenz: electrical variants in the compact segment are not that far away.—Jörg Burzer, Member of the Board of Management of Mercedes-Benz AG, Production and Supply Chain Management
Mercedes-Benz already offers various electrified models in each segment—from the 48-volt electric system (EQ Boost) and plug-in hybrids (EQ Power) to fully electrically powered vehicles (EQ). The focus is clearly on gradually increasing the percentage of purely electrically powered vehicles in the Mercedes-Benz Cars portfolio.
By the end of this year, Mercedes-Benz will offer five purely electric models as well as 20 plug-in hybrids. In a few years, more than ten fully electric EQ models will be in series production. Mercedes-Benz Cars’ new-car fleet is to become CO2-neutral in less than 20 years. By 2030, the company wants plug-in hybrids or purely electric vehicles to account for more than 50% of its passenger-car sales.