KAMENZ, Germany, May 23, 2017 (ENS) - By laying the foundation for one of the biggest and most modern battery factories, Daimler AG executives said Monday the company is setting new standards in the international automotive industry, and "taking the next strategic step in its electric offensive."
At Daimler's wholly-owned subsidiary Accumotive in Kamenz, a second factory for lithium-ion batteries is being built with an investment of around €500 million.
“The automotive industry is facing a fundamental transformation and we see ourselves as the driving force behind this change,” says Dieter Zetsche, chairman of the Board of Daimler AG and head of Mercedes-Benz Cars. “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.”
Chancellor Angela Merkel and Stanislaw Tillich, Minister President of Saxony joined Zetsche and other Daimler executives as guests of honor at the ceremony to set the factory's foundation stone. The casing of a vehicle battery was laid as the foundation stone.
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.
Saxon Minister President Tillich said, “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," said Tillich. "The project stands for innovation and jobs as well as for the development of this region as a center of electric mobility.”
Daimler is investing an overall amount of around €1 billion in a global production compound for batteries.
“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, member of the Divisional Board of Mercedes-Benz Cars, Production and Supply Chain.
“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," Schäfer said. "This makes our production network very well positioned for future mobility."
The new battery production facility, which is situated 50 kilometres (30 miles) 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 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,” said Frank Blome, managing director Deutsche Accumotive GmbH & Co. KG.
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 at the production stage. The production facilities will be supplied with energy from a combined heat and power plant and a solar 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.
Electric offensive at Mercedes-Benz Cars
With the Concept EQ, Mercedes-Benz Cars is presenting a new generation of electric vehicles. More than 10 new electric passenger cars are scheduled to be launched by 2022: in all segments from smart to large SUVs.
Daimler is planning to invest €10 billion in the expansion of the electric fleet over the next few years. The new electric vehicles will be produced within the global, 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, the Daimler executives say.
Kamenz will supply batteries for commercial vehicles
Daimler’s commercial vehicle divisions are also driving forward the electrification of their portfolio, and plans are for Mercedes-Benz Vans to go into series with electric transporters beginning next year.
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.
The four letters in the word CASE will shape the future of Mercedes-Benz Cars, say Daimler execs.
They stand for the strategic pillars of connectivity (Connected), autonomous driving (Autonomous), flexible use (Shared & Services) and electric drive systems (Electric), which will be "intelligently combined" by the company.
All activities in the area of connectivity are focused on the digital brand Mercedes me, which gives customers access to an extensive and personalized range of services by app, website or straight from their car.
PHOTO: Groundbreaking at Accumotive in Kamenz for Daimler's new battery factory: Chancellor Dr. Angela Merkel in a conversation with Dieter Zetsche, chairman of the Board of Management of Daimler AG and Head of Mercedes-Benz Cars, and two employees of Accumotive accompanied by Minister President of Saxony Stanislaw Tillich as well as Markus Schäfer, Member of the Divisional Board of Mercedes-Benz Cars, Production and Supply Chain, and Frank Blome, Managing Director Deutsche Accumotive GmbH & Co. KG, May 22, 2017 (Photo courtesy Daimler AG)