With Range Comes Dominance? Daimler Strengthens Relationship With Chinese Battery Maker CATL

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky
with range comes dominance daimler strengthens relationship with chinese battery

With practically every automaker on the planet attempting to make the electric vehicle segment work for them as well as Tesla has, they’re stepping all over each other to gain access to the components necessary to build them.

Everything from securing the raw materials for high-density cells to improving relationships with established battery suppliers will be essential for maximizing market share and embarrassing industry rivals like the little bitches they (hopefully) are. This has been especially true of German brands, who are trying to roll with increasingly demanding emission rules in Europe and China while likewise hoping to improve all-electric range and lower EV production costs.

Daimler, which already has supply deals with SK Innovation, LG Chem and Farasis, is seeking to bolster its partnership with China’s Contemporary Amperex Technology Ltd. (CATL) to address some of the challenges listed above. Mercedes-Benz wants to launch its EQS luxury electric sedan using CATL cells in 2021 — ideally with at least 435 miles of range per charge. While Daimler uses Worldwide Harmonized Light Vehicle Test Procedure (WLTP) metrics that typically average lower when assessed by the U.S. regulators, the proposed target remains enviable.

“We intend to lead in battery technologies, so we are now combining our own research and development 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,” Markus Schäfer, Mercedes-Benz Cars COO and Daimler board member, explained.

“CATL will be a major supplier securing capacity for the next generations of our EQ products in the years to come.”

As per Wednesday’s announcement, the updated CATL partnership will include supplying cells and entire battery systems in exchange for Daimler sharing its own R&D. That also means MB Cars and MB Vans will get the same cell-to-pack (CTP) design Tesla now has in Asia. If executed correctly, vehicles using the system are supposed to yield higher energy densities and swifter charging times. CTP is likewise supposed to help tamp down production costs immensely. That said, these benefits are currently speculative in nature, even if they do seem to hold immense promise for EV adoption rates.

Vying to someday be carbon neutral, Daimler suggested that CATL battery production will be dependent upon renewable energy sources, noting that the company will build a new facility near Erfurt, Germany, to supply Mercedes.

CATL already intends to start production there by the end of 2020. While the pandemic has created some setbacks at the site, it’s supposed to be mostly on track to begin deliveries to European partners soon — including BMW Group, Daimler, Renault, Volkswagen Group, and Volvo.

[Image: Franz12/Shutterstock]

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3 of 20 comments
  • Inside Looking Out Inside Looking Out on Aug 05, 2020

    " in exchange for Daimler sharing its own R&D" That's how China Inc. functions. They force you to "share" your know how and then force you into a bankruptcy.

  • Redapple Redapple on Aug 06, 2020

    I had a 2000 Explorer. New. I called it the drifting, plodding, pounding pile of sheet. I ve captained sail boats with better steering. (EX. 2005 Jeanneau 45 ') Headlight died. Had to drop the fascia to change out the bulb. My last FORD. Bye.

  • SPPPP This rings oh so very hollow. To me, it sounds like the powers that be at Ford don't know which end is up, and therefore had to invent a new corporate position to serve as "bad guy" for layoffs and eventual scapegoat if (when) the quality problems continue.
  • Art Vandelay Tasos eats $#!t and puffs peters
  • Kwik_Shift Imagine having trying to prove that the temporary loss of steering contributed to your plunging off a cliff or careening through a schoolyard?
  • Inside Looking Out How much costs 25 y.o. Mercedes S class with 200K miles?
  • VoGhost Matthew, It's transformation, not transition. This is a common title in corporate America.