Daimler expands European battery network with 33% stake in ACC venture

BERLIN, Sept 24 (Reuters) – Mercedes-Benz Daimler (DAIGn.DE) said on Friday it will acquire a 33% stake in battery cell maker Automotive Cells (ACC), expanding its European sourcing of primary battery cells for its electric vehicle. ambitions and is currently produced primarily in Asia.

ACC, founded in 2020 by France’s Stellantis (STLA.MI) and TotalEnergies (TTEF.PA), will start supplying batteries to Mercedes-Benz from its production sites in France and Germany from the middle of the decade.

“Our focus is on Europe,” Daimler CEO Ola Källenius said at a press conference. “This is where ACC wants to grow, expand and develop technologies with us.”

The company said Daimler, which plans to make exclusively electric cars in 2030 if market conditions permit, will invest up to 1 billion euros ($1.2 billion) in the battery project, starting with a three-figure average cash investment next year.

ACC, which previously planned to produce 48 gigawatt hours of power at its two plants, now aims to reach at least 120 gigawatt hours by 2030, it said Friday, a goal that requires seven billion euros in equity, debt and support. .

Markus Schaefer, a member of Daimler’s board of directors, declined to specify what proportion of ACC’s desired capacity would be allocated to Daimler, stating only that it was “extremely significant”.

The luxury carmaker, whose former CEO deemed it too expensive to produce battery cells internally, has taken a strategic turn under Kallenius toward seeking more control over its battery supply chain, announcing its goal in July to build eight giga-capacity plants. 200 gigawatt-hours.

ACC already has ties with Germany: a €2 billion investment in a battery cell plant in Kaiserslautern, production set to begin in 2025.

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The company told Reuters that the company plans to expand its European network, but no specific locations have been identified yet.

Daimler, which said in July that four of the eight giant plants would be in Europe and one in the United States, is in discussions with potential partners in both regions about further investments.

“Everyone has talked to us, and everyone wants to do business with us,” Kallenius said, adding that the company planned to build all of its cellular plants through joint ventures.

“There are no concrete plans to build our ‘only Daimler’ plants,” said Källenius.

Daimler currently relies on Asian partners such as CATL (300750.SZ), SK Innovation (096770.KS) and LG Chem (051910.KS) for its batteries, and acquired a 3% stake in Chinese-American supplier Farasis last year.

CATL and Farasis are building battery plants in Germany, but production is not scheduled to start until 2022 and 2024, respectively.

Daimler added that ACC’s battery cells will be 95% recyclable in accordance with its goal of creating a CO2-free supply chain by 2039.

NS

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