Daimler Ups Battery Factory Investments to Over €1 Billion

May 22, 2017 by Jeff Shepard

By laying the foundation for one of the biggest and most modern battery factories, Daimler AG aims to set new standards in the international automotive industry, thereby taking the next strategic step in its electric offensive. At the wholly-owned subsidiary ACCUMOTIVE in Kamenz, the second factory for lithium-ion batteries is built with an investment of around 500 million euros. Overall, Daimler has now invested an overall amount of around one billion euros in a global production compound for batteries.

Guests of honor at the ceremony were Federal Chancellor Dr. Angela Merkel and Stanislaw Tillich (Minister President of Saxony), who, together with Dieter Zetsche (Chairman of the Board of Daimler AG and Head of Mercedes-Benz Cars), Markus Schäfer (Member of the Divisional Board of Mercedes-Benz Cars, Production and Supply Chain), Frank Deiss (Head of Powertrain Production and Site Manager Mercedes-Benz Plant Untertürkheim) and Frank Blome (Managing Director Deutsche Accumotive GmbH & Co. KG), laid the casing of a vehicle battery as the foundation stone.

“The automotive industry is facing a fundamental transformation and we see ourselves as the driving force behind this change,” says Dieter Zetsche. “The battery factory in Kamenz is an important component in the implementation of our electric offensive. By 2022, we will have more than ten purely electric passenger cars in series. We also continue to drive forward the hybridization of our fleet. Under the EQ brand, we are creating a holistic ecosystem for e-mobility.”

The investment of Daimler strengthens the region as a major innovation hub for the German automotive industry and offers employees good prospects in a future-oriented technology field. The Federal Chancellor and the Saxon Minister President were able to get an impression during a tour through the existing battery factory with two employees working in production.

Stanislaw Tillich stressed that “Daimler is focusing on Saxony for this important investment in Germany and Europe – I’d like to say thank you and welcome! Today’s foundation in the Lausitz is a signal of the future that is particularly strong. With the investment, Daimler plays a decisive role in consolidating the reputation of Saxony as a traditional and, at the same time, modern automotive region. The project stands for innovation and jobs as well as for the development of this region as a center of electric mobility.”

“With the second battery plant in Kamenz, we are giving the initial start for the development of the first premium eBattery factory,” says Markus Schäfer. “The local production of batteries is an important success factor in our electric offensive and a crucial element in order to flexibly and efficiently serve the global demand for electric vehicles. This makes our production network very well positioned for future mobility.”

The new production facility, which is situated approximately 50 kilometers from Dresden, is scheduled to go into operation in mid-2018. Covering an area of around 20 hectares, the site is in the direct vicinity of the existing battery factory. The new plant will quadruple the production and logistics area in Kamenz to a total of around 80,000 square meters. In the next few years ACCUMOTIVE will gradually increase the number of employees at the site. By the end of the decade, ACCUMOTIVE will have a total of over 1,000 employees and thus more than double the number compared to today’s level.

“The German Chancellor’s visit at ACCUMOTIVE underlines the importance of electric mobility in Germany and the good perspectives for the future location in Kamenz. For our workforce, this is a great signal acknowledging their know-how and top quality performance in the last years. To date, we have delivered more than 80,000 batteries based on lithium-ion technology,” says Frank Blome.

The second battery factory has been designed as a CO2-neutral factory with an energy balance of zero: Daimler’s approach to electric mobility is an integrated one, attaching key importance to sustainability already at the production stage. The production facilities will be supplied with energy from a combined heat and power plant and a photovoltaic plant in combination with stationary battery storage units. With state-of-the-art facilities and technologies, the new battery factory will also set standards regarding Industry 4.0.

With the Concept EQ, Mercedes-Benz Cars is presenting a new generation of electric vehicles. More than ten new electric passenger cars are scheduled to be launched by 2022: in all segments from smart to large SUVs. Ten billion euros will be invested in the expansion of the electric fleet in the next few years. The new electric vehicles will be produced within the global, highly flexible and efficient production network of Mercedes-Benz Cars with plants on four continents. The first EQ series model will roll off the line at the Mercedes-Benz plant in Bremen at the end of the decade.

In addition to that, luxury-class EQ models will be produced at the plant in Sindelfingen. The company assumes that the proportion of electric vehicles in the total unit sales of Mercedes-Benz will be between 15 and 25 percent by 2025. In addition to traction batteries, ACCUMOTIVE will produce batteries for Mercedes-Benz energy storage units and 48-volt-systems. The pioneering 48-Volt on-board power supply is celebrating its premiere in the new generation of the S-Class and will be gradually introduced in various model series.

Daimler’s commercial vehicle divisions are also consistently driving forward the electrification of their portfolio. After the Vito E-CELL from the year 2011, Mercedes-Benz Vans will go into series with electric transporters beginning next year. Both Vito and Sprinter will be equipped with drive batteries from Kamenz. Daimler Trucks will launch a small series of the Fuso eCanter later this year. This is the third generation of the world’s first purely electrically-driven light truck. Fuso also uses the batteries from Kamenz for the eCanter.

Depending on the design, load and application profile, the 7.5-ton truck has a range of more than 100km without stationary loading. The Fuso eCanter will be delivered in small series from 2017 onwards. The first 150 units go to customers in Japan, Europe and the US. Mercedes-Benz Trucks is also starting the customer testing of the Urban eTruck, the world’s first full-electric heavy-duty truck. Daimler Buses is launching a full-electric Mercedes-Benz city bus in series production next year. Prototypes are already on the road.