Daimler's Mercedes-Benz division has become an equal partner in Stellantis and TotalEnergies' Automotive Cells Company (ACC), the companies said in a statement Sept. 24. This would raise ACC's total cell capacity to at least 120 GWh by 2030, according to the statement.
Receive daily email alerts, subscriber notes & personalize your experience.Register Now
The companies said that all of them would own a third of ACC, with the updated capacity plan expected to require over Eur7 billion ($ 8.2 billion) in investment, which will be supported by subsidies and financed by equity and debt.
ACC was formed in August 2020 to develop and produce battery cells and modules for EVs with a focus on safety, performance and competitiveness, while ensuring the highest level of quality and the lowest carbon footprint.
The German and French governments have provided Eur1.3 billion in funding to ACC, with the German funding part of the Eur3 billion earmarked by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy for battery projects in Germany.
ACC, which has an R&D Center and testing facilities in Nouvelle-Aquitaine, France, aims to produce batteries that are 95% recyclable, which feeds into Daimler's goal of having a carbon-neutral supply chain by 2039. The company currently has two gigafactory projects, one each in France and Germany.
Under the new partnership, Mercedes-Benz will provide technology and production know-how, as well as support the expansion of ACC's production facilities based on the brand's benchmark quality standards.
This will build on Stellantis providing technology to ensure freedom of movement for all through affordable and sustainable mobility solutions, as well as TotalEnergies affiliate Saft's battery development technological expertise gained from its advanced experience in the field of long-life batteries and battery systems.
"The creation of this European battery champion will support Europe to address the challenges of the energy transition in mobility, ensure its security of supply of a key component for the electric car industry," the automakers said.
Daimler AG and Mercedes-Benz AG CEO Ola Källenius said that the new partnership allows the automaker to secure supply, to take advantage of economies of scale, and to provide customers with superior battery technology.
"On top of that, we can help to ensure that Europe remains at the heart of the auto industry – even in an electric era. With Mercedes-Benz as a new partner, ACC aims to more than double capacity at its European sites to support Europe's industrial competitiveness in the design and manufacturing of battery cells," Källenius said.
Partnership welcomed by Germany
Germany's Federal Minister of Economics Peter Altmaier welcomed Daimler's participation in ACC, which he said had been supported and promoted within the European Union and by France and Germany as part of a joint European Important Project of Common European Interest (IPCEI).
"The cooperation between Germany and France has the potential to create a new battery champion in Europe. Together with the Tesla project and the other 14 projects that we are promoting as part of the European battery projects, Germany can become a focus of global battery production," Altmaier said.
Almost 60 companies from 12 European member states have participated in Europe's two battery IPCEIs, with several 100 companies benefitting indirectly from the IPCEIs as suppliers, research institutes and other partners.
The minister said that in Germany alone, the 16 companies funded by the two IPCEIs were investing over Eur13 billion to create over 180 GWh of cell production capacity.
"The aim is a competitive, innovative and sustainable battery value chain in Germany and Europe: from the processing of raw materials to battery cell production and recycling. The battery cells "made in Europe" should be of high quality and innovative and the production processes should be environmentally friendly and sustainable," Altmaier said.
According to S&P Global Platts Analytics, plug-in light duty EV sales in Western Europe are expected to reach 6.4 million units in 2030, up from 1.3 million units in 2020.
Of these, sales in Germany and France are forecast to be 1.7 million and 985,000, respectively, in 2030. This would be up from 394,000 and 186,000 units, respectively, in 2020.