Tuesday, July 16, 2024

Mercedes-Benz Delays Battery Capacity Expansion Amid Slower EV Demand

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Mercedes-Benz will postpone its planned expansion of battery cell capacity as it monitors electric vehicle (EV) demand, a strategy shift prompted by lower-than-expected sales projections, the company’s technology chief revealed on Monday.

Originally aiming for over 200 gigawatt hours (GWh) of battery cell capacity by 2030, Mercedes-Benz now reassesses its timeline due to revised forecasts indicating electrified vehicles, including hybrids, will not comprise up to 50% of its total sales until 2030, five years later than previously anticipated.

Markus Schaefer, Chief Technology Officer (CTO) at Mercedes-Benz, acknowledged the evolving strategy, stating, “Is the 200 gigawatt hour capacity still necessary? It’s a question of the timeline.”

The automaker had previously announced plans to establish eight cell factories worldwide, including significant ventures in Europe, to support its electric vehicle ambitions. These plans included partnerships with CATL and ACC for battery supply, with operations spanning Hungary, France, Germany, and Italy.

Despite adjusting its capacity plans, Mercedes-Benz remains committed to electrifying its product lineup, emphasizing ongoing investments in battery technologies. The company inaugurated a research and production center for battery cells at its headquarters, underscoring efforts to enhance control over battery chemistry and manufacturing processes.

Schaefer highlighted Mercedes-Benz’s advancements in battery technology, including developments in high-energy anodes, cobalt-free cathodes, and solid-state technology, aimed at improving energy storage, driving ranges, and charging speeds.

“We are relatively flexible. We will think about next steps when we have more transparency on demand,” Schaefer added, reflecting on the company’s adaptable approach amidst market dynamics.

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