Mercedes-Benz has ambitious plans to produce 50,000 electric cars this year, and now the German automaker has offered more detail on how it plans to supply those cars with batteries.
In a press release, parent company Daimler said it would establish a "global network" of nine battery factories at seven locations in Europe, North America, and Asia, primarily managed by battery-making subsidiary Deutsche Accumotive.
Mercedes is investing more than 1 billion euros ($1.1 billion) to fund this expansion.
Accumotive currently produces batteries for Mercedes electric cars, plug-in hybrids, and 48-volt mild hybrids at Kamenz, in the German state of Saxony. The site has already produced over half a million batteries, and will serve as a model for other battery factories, according to Daimler.
The company previously announced that it is working toward carbon-neutral production of batteries, and claims a second factory opened at the Kamenz site in 2018 was designed with that goal. The factory is powered by a combination of geothermal energy and a 2-megawatt photovoltaic solar array, Daimler said.
Deutsche Accumotive Kamenz battery factory
Mercedes has allegedly had supply issues with batteries, but the company has repeatedly insisted that it plans to produce 50,000 EVs this year. However, Mercedes delayed the United States launch of the EQC electric SUV until 2021, opting to focus on Europe instead.
The automaker plans to have five all-electric models and 20 plug-in hybrids in production globally by the end of this year, and wants to add five more all-electric models over the next few years. By 2030, Mercedes expects electric cars and plug-in hybrids to make up more than 50% of its passenger car sales.
Top R&D executives at Mercedes have confirmed that the company has a conservative approach to battery use and safety. Jochen Hermann, head of eDrive development at Daimler, previously told Green Car Reports that the automaker does not want to take part in the "range race," opting to emphasize safety and reliability instead.
However, the Mercedes Vision AVTR concept—inspired by the "Avatar" film franchise, and unveiled at the 2020 Consumer Electronics Show—was focused on the idea of sustainable battery tech, emphasizing experimental battery chemistries that have not yet been used in production cars.