Daimler Breaks Ground On Second Lithium-Ion Battery Plant

Daimler has officially begun construction of its second lithium-ion battery plant, which the German automaker says will be one of the largest in the world.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Saxony Minister President Stanislaw Tillich, together with Daimler chief Dieter Zetsche and other executives, toured the existing battery factory in Kamenz on Monday, where the second plant will be built. During the launch event, the upcoming plant was praised for contributing to the local economy and for taking the next step in Daimler’s electrified vehicle strategy.

Located about 50 kilometers (31 miles) from Dresden, the new plant is scheduled to start production in mid-2018. Once built, it will cover around 80,000 square meters (about 861,113 square feet) on the Kamenz facility operating under Daimler’s Accumotive subsidiary. Production will be quadrupled once the new battery factory is in place, the company said.

It will pale in comparison to Tesla’s Gigafactory in Nevada. As of last year, Tesla was using about 5.5 million square feet for the factory. That floor space could go up to 13.6 million square feet by 2020, the company said.

The Accumotive plant will also produce Mercedes-Benz Energy storage units and 48-volt systems. The 48-volt on-board power supply will be premiered in the new generation of the S-class and will gradually be placed in other Mercedes-Benz models. Daimler is adding 48-volt systems for greater fuel efficiency through functions like brake regeneration, engine stop-start, and electric boost.

The number of employees working at the Accumotive site will be doubled by the end of the decade to more than 1,000 workers, says the company.

Daimler is putting about 500 million euros (about $560 million) into the new plant, doubling its overall spend in global battery production.

The new plant ties into making the Saxony region a major innovation hub in the German auto industry, and provides employees opportunities for career advancements.

For Daimler, it’s a sizable investment in a global “electric offensive.”

“The automotive industry is facing a fundamental transformation and we see ourselves as the driving force behind this change. The battery factory in Kamenz is an important component in the implementation of our electric offensive. By 2022, we will have more than 10 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,” Zetsche said.

It will also be a carbon-neutral factory. Power will come from a combined heat and power plant and a solar power plant in combination with stationary battery storage units.

SEE ALSO:  Daimler Holds Off on Battery Cell Investment

The automaker said it will be spending about 10 billion euros (about $11.19 billion) in the expansion of its electrified vehicles in the next few years. More than 10 EQ brand all-electric vehicles will be rolled out by Mercedes-Benz. They’ll cover a range of vehicle sizes from small cars to SUVs.

These will come off assembly lines at Mercedes-Benz plants on four continents. The first in the EQ series will be coming off line at the Mercedes-Benz plant in Bremen, Germany, by the end of the decade.

Daimler said that electrification of the commercial vehicle side of its business continues to stay active. Mercedes-Benz Vans will offer electric vehicle beginning next year. Both the Vito and Sprinter vans will be equipped with batteries from the Kamenz plant. Daimler Trucks will be launching a small series of the Fuse eCanter electric truck later this year with batteries coming from its plant.

The first Kamenz battery plant was opened by Daimler in 2012.


More Hybrid News...