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Mercedes-Benz Parent Daimler Takes a 33% Stake in Automotive Cells Company (ACC), to Source Batteries for its European Market EVs

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【Summary】Mercedes-Benz parent Daimler has taken a 33% equity stake in European battery manufacturer Automotive Cells Company (ACC) together with automaker Stellantis and French petroleum giant TotalEnergies. As Mercedes Benz transitions to becoming an electric-only automaker by the end of the decade, ACC will help the company to scale up development and production of next-generation battery cells and modules.

FutureCar Staff    Sep 24, 2021 10:15 AM PT
Mercedes-Benz Parent Daimler Takes a 33% Stake in Automotive Cells Company (ACC), to Source Batteries for its European Market EVs
The Mercedes-Benz EQS electric sedan is one of many new EVs the automaker will introduce by 2025.

Mercedes-Benz parent Daimler has taken a 33% equity stake in French battery manufacturer Automotive Cells Company (ACC) together with automaker Stellantis and French petroleum giant TotalEnergies. Each company will hold an equal 33% stake in ACC. 

As Mercedes Benz ramps up the production of electric vehicles and transitions to becoming an electric-only automaker by the end of the decade, ACC will help the company to scale up development and production of next-generation high-performance battery cells and modules.

ACC was founded in 2020 and aims to become the European leader of electric vehicle batteries. The investments from Dailmer, Stellantis and TotalEnergies bring together the additional expertise of three major companies, with highly complementary skills.  

To reach its EV goals, Daimler says its will need a total battery production capacity of more than 200 Gigawatt hours by the end of the decade. The company plans to build eight cell factories worldwide together with its partners. Four of the factories will be located in Europe and one will be located in the U.S.  

For Daimler, the goal of the partnership is for the joint development of cells and battery modules that meet the high energy density, charging power, performance and cost requirements of Mercedes-Benz.  

The automaker is relying on a modular, highly standardized battery kit that allows the integration of battery cells and modules from different manufacturers. Daimler said in July that more than 90% of future Mercedes-Benz electric models will be built with a common battery platform with standardized interfaces.

With Mercedes-Benz as a new partner, ACC aims to more than double capacity at its European sites to support Europe's competitiveness in the design and manufacturing of advanced battery cells. 

"Mercedes-Benz pursues a very ambitious transformation plan and this investment marks a strategic milestone on our path to CO2 neutrality. Together with ACC, we will develop and efficiently produce battery cells and modules in Europe – tailor-made to the specific Mercedes-Benz requirements", says Ola Källenius, CEO of Daimler AG and Mercedes-Benz AG. "This new partnership allows us to secure supply, to take advantage of economies of scale, and to provide our customers with superior battery technology."

According to Daimler, the entire ACC project will require an investment volume of more than seven billion euros ($8.2 billion) in a combination of equity, debt and subsidies to reach a capacity of 120 Gigawatt hours in Europe by the end of the decade. 

Mercedes-Benz said it will invest a "mid-three-digit-million euros" amount next year. In total, the investments are expected to remain below one billion Euros. 

"To have Mercedes-Benz join us as a new shareholder is a major milestone for ACC," said Yann Vincent, CEO of ACC. Mercedes-Benz will bring a vote of confidence in our technology roadmap and product competitiveness that significantly strengthens ACC's business potential and underpins our ambitious growth plans."

Following the investment, Mercedes Benz will hold two out of six seats on ACC's Supervisory Board alongside TotalEnergies and Stellantis as equal shareholders, according to Markus Schäfer, Member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG and Mercedes-Benz AG;

responsible for Daimler Group Research and Mercedes-Benz Cars COO. "Our goal is to continue to integrate the most advanced and sustainable battery cells in our EQ models. Therefore, we will provide our technological and production know-how to ACC."

Beginning in 2025, all newly launched Mercedes-Benz vehicle architectures will be electric-only and customers will be able to choose an all-electric alternative for every model the automaker sells. Mercedes Benz is targeting a range of over 600 miles for its future EVs, so the company will need advanced batteries to reach its range targets.

Mercedes-Benz is currently ramping up plans to prepare its global manufacturing network for electric-only vehicles. The automaker has already made investments in flexible manufacturing for EVs. By next year, the automaker said that electric vehicles will be produced at seven global locations. 

In total, Daimler's investments in battery electric vehicles between 2022 and 2030 will amount to over US$47 billion. To prepare for its transformation into an electric brand, Mercedes will significantly reduce investments into combustion engines and plug-in hybrid technologies will drop by 80% between 2019 and 2026, the company said.

ACC's R&D center in Bordeaux, France is already operational and the pilot site in Nersac, France will start EV battery production by the end of this year.

The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions, including agreement on definitive documentation and regulatory approvals.

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