Tesla Motors isn’t the only automaker branching into the energy storage market, and now Daimler has announced that it too will begin selling large battery units to capture solar or grid energy for home and industrial uses.
With a much quieter approach compared to Tesla’s Powerwall debut, Daimler released news of its Mercedes-Benz branded products last week not even announcing a special name – such as “Powerwall” – but instead calling them only “stationary energy storage plants.”
That said, its first industrial-scale storage unit is already up and running, tied to the grid, and being operated in cooperation with partner companies The Mobility House and GETEC.
Similar to Tesla’s Powerwall options, Daimler will have lithium-ion batteries for both home energy storage (at 2.5 kilowatts) and larger system intended for industrial use (at 5.9 kw). These allow users to store electricity collected from either a solar array or the utility company.
“Households with their own photovoltaic systems can buffer surplus solar power virtually free of any losses. Initial plants are already running in trial operation,” said Daimler. The system is also designed to allow users to connect multiple batteries together for increased capacity.
The new energy storage units will be built by one of Daimler’s subsidiaries, Deutsche ACCUmotive. This is the same Daimler-owned company that has been responsible for producing lithium-ion batteries for Mercedes and Smart over the past six years.
For business with private customers in Germany, Daimler AG is planning to collaborate with EnBW AG. Daimler also aims to cooperate with other sales and distribution partners in Germany and abroad.
“Mercedes-Benz energy storages provide the best confirmation that lithium-ion batteries Made in Germany have a viable future,” said Harald Kröger, Head of Development Electrics/Electronics & E-Drive Mercedes-Benz Cars. “With our comprehensive battery expertise at Deutsche ACCUmotive we are accelerating the transition to sustainable energy generation both on the road and in the field of power supply for companies and private households.”
“The technology that has proven its worth over millions of kilometers covered in the most adverse conditions, such as extreme heat and cold, also offers the best credentials for stationary use. We have been gathering initial experience in this field since 2012.”
Expandable Modular Storage
Similar also to Tesla’s Powerwall, Mercedes’ battery units can be tied together to create more onsite storage.
“For use in the private sector, up to eight battery modules can be combined to produce an energy storage plant with a capacity of 20-kilowatt hours. The systems are fully scalable to requirements for commercial and industrial use,” Daimler explained.
Industrial-scale units are already in place in select German test markets, where they are helping to stabilize the grid and even out load peaks.
“These are tasks usually performed by coal-fired and nuclear power stations,” said Daimler.
“96 battery modules of the Mercedes-Benz energy storage plant with a total capacity of more than 500 kwh are already on the grid, to be increased step-by-step to 3000 kwh by the partners The Mobility House and GETEC in the coming weeks.”
Though Tesla may have beat Daimler by announcing its Powerwall first, a representative with the Germany-based automotive corporation said the battery has been in development for a while.
“We have been working on this product for quite some time and one large storage unit is already in successful operation,” said spokesperson Madeleine Herdlitschka. In an interview with Bloomberg, she stated that Daimler will display the batteries this month during Munich’s Intersolar Trade Fair.
The retail price have not been released yet, though Herdlitschka said the batteries will be offered at a “competitive” number.
Customers can begin ordering this month, with deliveries expected in Fall 2015.