By on September 24, 2021

Daimler is getting cozy with Chrysler again, or at least the American side of Stellantis, so they can tackle battery development and production. Those in the know will recall that Chrysler has been passed around more than a bottle of booze at a middle school party. But its long history of partnerships also kept it in business and resulted in some of its better products.

Before the Amero-French merger that resulted in Stellantis, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles was an Italian-American company with facilities dotted around North America. Prior to that, it was known as DaimlerChrysler – resulting in the LX Platform, Pentastar V6, and a wider variety of Jeep Wranglers. Now, Chrysler’s alienated German wife has shown up on the doorstep with a wad of cash and news that she’ll be investing it into the new battery business. 

Daimler has purchased a 33 percent stake of Automotive Cells Company (AAC), which was established and uncreatively named by Stellantis and TotalEnergies, in a bid to ensure Europe parent isn’t left behind in the electric revolution.

“Mercedes-Benz pursues a very ambitious transformation plan and this investment marks a strategic milestone on our path to CO2 neutrality. Together with ACC, we will develop and efficiently produce battery cells and modules in Europe – tailor-made to the specific Mercedes-Benz requirements,” Ola Källenius, CEO of Daimler AG and Mercedes-Benz AG, explained. “This new partnership allows us to secure supply, to take advantage of economies of scale, and to provide our customers with superior battery technology. On top of that we can help to ensure that Europe remains at the heart of the auto industry – even in an electric era: With Mercedes-Benz as a new partner, ACC aims to more than double capacity at its European sites to support Europe’s industrial competitiveness in the design and manufacturing of battery cells.”

From Daimler:

The entire ACC project will require an investment volume of more than seven billion euros – in a combination of equity, debt and subsidies – to reach a capacity of at least 120 Gigawatt hours in Europe by the end of the decade. Mercedes-Benz will invest a mid-three-digit-million euros amount next year. In total, the investments are expected to remain below one billion Euros. The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions, including agreement on definitive documentation and regulatory approvals.

The German automaker would like to scale up the development and production of next-generation battery cells and modules so it can keep its promise of being an all-electric company by 2030. However, it said it needs a total battery production capacity of more than 200 Gigawatt hours by that time, requiring it to build at least eight facilities and engage in numerous partnerships.

Following Daimler’s formal investment, the company will have an even 33 percent equity stake in ACC – giving it two of the six Supervisory Board seats and equal footing with Total and Stellantis. It’s expected that hardware will begin manifesting within the next couple of years and be shared among the three companies. For now, Daimler will be providing its “technical and production know-how” to help spur development. But more direct involvement is anticipated when the automaker finishes its Drive Systems Campus finishes construction in 2023, with additional European facilities to be considered later.

[Image: Pixfly/Shutterstock]

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14 Comments on “Daimler Getting Back Into Bed With Chrysler for Battery Biz...”


  • avatar
    jalop1991

    “Automotive Cells Company (AAC)”

    Nancy Reagan was right–Reading Is Fundamental.

  • avatar
    conundrum

    Speaking of Fiat Chrysler: before them, “Chrysler” was “owned” by the US and Canadian governments, and before that by an American vulture capital hedge fund profit taker on the fly by night plan, outfit name of Cerberus Capital, which wandered around in a daze for 18 months after being paid by Daimler to take “Chrysler” off their hands. 18 months of walking round in circles and blowing bubbles with flash banker/financial types promising the world based on nothing whatsoever, Cerberus Chrysler declared bankruptcy. Which was when the governments took over until they unloaded it on Fiat.

    You may have heard this story. Perhaps? It’s a painful one.

    At the time of initial Cerberus “purchase” from Daimler, the America first chest-thumper patriot brigade were willing to believe that money managers in suits would save Chrysler for Team USA. No such luck.

    Stellantis, in particular the PSA part, haven’t been rooked by Daimler yet, unlike Nissan was over the supply of Benz M270 engines for the C Class and itself from Smyrna TN. So I suppose Carlos Tavares thinks it’s okay to get into “bed” with Daimler on battery cells. Let’s hope he’s right for Stellantis’ sake, because those Benz boys are wily. Chief among them from 2010 or so on as ultimate Big Daimler Cheese and now retired, was the nutty German professor Dieter Zetschke of TV ad notoriety with giganto walrus handlebar style mustache, flogging such brilliant products as the new for 2007 Dodgy Caliber. That featured plastic interior trim which RubberMaid would have rejected for garbage can lids. Hell of a guy. Ahem. The first Benz CLA 250 tin box of 2014 came out during his watch, likely an updated Caliber germanized — the interior sure looked like it. I test drove one when they came out in 2014, finding the Mazda3 a far superior car at half the price. The CLA was an embarrassment as many reviews, including ones here on TTAC, later showed. But the Mazda didn’t have the badge to fool the unwary. Watch out, Stellantis!

  • avatar
    el scotto

    Uh, Daimler is a German company. What’s left of Chrysler is owned by a Dutch-based auto company. BTW, where are the Dutch? In Holland. Where is Holland? In Europe. This is a story about two European companies joining to build batteries. I have a healthy respect for Chrysler before Daimler. After Chrysler was given to Fiat, Sergio said “stuff a V-8 in everything and we’ll update them every 15 years.” What really needs to be debated is will Jeep’s new owners go bankrupt? They do have an impressive streak.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    Yep, those mainstream mfrs were going to destroy Tesla…

    Then a decade later they realized they needed Gigafactories of their own, because it turns out you can’t just buy batteries online from Alibaba.

    But these Big Companies wouldn’t be forming partnerships with each other if it was cheap, or if they thought they would actually have high sales volume.

    Seems like a half-hearted effort to me.

    • 0 avatar
      mcs

      It’s kind of late to be putting together partnerships. Other companies have their next-gen batteries and are sorting out issues with manufacturing and performing road tests. This is for batteries that won’t be in mass production until 2023-2024. I think ACC is for lithium-ion NMC (or NCM) cathode chemistry. That’s old-school 1st generation stuff. They’ll be going up against Teslas 4680, Toyota’s solid-state, VWs solid-state, and even Ford’s solid-state batteries. All of those companies are getting ready for mass production.

  • avatar
    MoDo

    Was Stella not going to build their own batteries (and plants?) This ACC tie up may be short term. And Daimler holds the same stake they do for those that didnt read the article.

  • avatar
    Da Coyote

    Given my experience with my Mercedes and its constant electrical problems, I’ll take a bye, thank you.

  • avatar
    BSttac

    Well it went so well the first time these two partnered up, why not try it again…

  • avatar
    Syke

    Hell, if I was someone in Chrysler management, I’d do my damnednest to tank this deal, just on the general principle of karma.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    MERGER OF EQUALS, THE SEQUEL.

  • avatar
    Keith Tomas

    Chrysler – the pass-around bottom of the automotive industry.

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