European auto giant Daimler is committing to the electric vehicle revolution, ordering €20billion ($A31billion) worth of EV batteries in preparation for mass production of over 130 all-electric models and electrified variants.
The batteries will be used across the entire range of Mercedes Benz cars, including the Mercedes-Benz EQ which is slated for launch in 2019, at least another 9 all-electric models and 120 variants, as well as electric trucks, vans and buses.
The battery orders will fulfil production needs until 2030, says Daimler, and come from suppliers in Asia, Europe and the USA who must satisfy the Human Rights Respect System requirements of entirely transparent and sustainable supply chains.
“With extensive orders for battery cells until the year 2030, we set another important milestone for the electrification of our future electric vehicles,” Wilko Stark, who supervises procurement and supplier quality on the board of Mercedes-Benz, said in a statement.
It’s a gear change since group research head Ola Källenius made comments in October that although the automaker is planning for 25 per cent of its auto offerings to be electric, with at least one electrified variants across its 50 current models, “combustion engines will still be around for a long time to come.”
Given the growing global shift to electric mobility, it would seem that Daimler are keen to impress that it is firmly committed to a future of electric mobility.
“Our electric offensive continues to gain momentum,” said Chairman of the Board of Management of Daimler AG and Mercedes-Benz chief Dr. Dieter Zetsche in a statement to the press.
“After investing billions of euros in the development of the electric fleet and the expansion of our global battery network, we are now taking the next step: With the purchase of battery cells for more than 20 billion euros, we are consistently pushing forward with the transformation into the electric future of our company.”
The orders will fill the need for EV batteries for its mass production plans while it develops its own battery production facilities.
Daimler is also investing €1billion in making batteries as part of its global Mercedez-Benz production network, and derisking gaps in supply by spreading production across 8 factories on 3 continents.
Stark says that this will “ensure the supply of our global battery production network today and in the future using the latest technologies.”
One production facility is already operational at Kamenz near Dresden in eastern Germany and a second slated for the same town from the start of next year, as well as two more in Germany that were originally announced in July 2018 for Sindelfingen and Untertuerkheim.
The automaker also plans to reduce its dependence on rare earth minerals such as cobalt by developing next-gen batteries including solid state batteries (which do not use cobalt).
It also plans to develop cell batteries using 90% nickel, 5% manganese and 5% cobalt, which is 15% less cobalt than in the 60% nickel, 20% manganese and 20% cobalt battery it plans to launch next year in the Mercedes-Benz EQ.
Bridie Schmidt is lead reporter for The Driven, sister site of Renew Economy. She specialises in writing about new technology and has been writing about electric vehicles for two years. She has a keen interest in the role that zero emissions transport has to play in sustainability and is co-organiser of the Northern Rivers Electric Vehicle Forum.