Business Essentials for Professionals


Daimler Takes Up 33% Stake In ACC Venture, Further Expanding Its European Battery Network

Daimler Takes Up 33% Stake In ACC Venture, Further Expanding Its European Battery Network
Daimler subsidiary Mercedes-Benz is currently implementing a strategy of expanding its European sourcing of battery cells that are critical for meeting its goals for electric vehicles, which are currently majorly manufactured in Asia, and announced an investment in battery cell maker Automotive Cells Company (ACC) to take up a 33 per cent stake in the company.
From the middle of the decade, ACC, which was formed in 2020 by France's Stellantis and TotalEnergies, is slated to supply batteries to Mercedes-Benz that will be manufactured at its production facilities in France and Germany.
"Our focus is on Europe," Daimler Chief Executive Ola Kallenius told a press conference. "That is where ACC wants to grow, expand, and develop technologies with us."
Daimler has previously announced its target to produce only electric vehicles by 2030 provided that the market circumstances were favourable and on Friday it said that it would make an investment of up to a billion euros ($1.2 billion) in the battery business, beginning with a mid-three digit million cash investment next year.
ACC, which had originally planned for 48 Gigawatt hours (GWh) of capability at its two facilities, now wants to achieve at least 120 GWh by 2030, according to a statement released on Friday, a goal that will need a seven-billion-euro investment in stock, debt, and subsidies.
Markus Schaefer, a Daimler board member, refused to reveal how much of ACC's planned capacity would be assigned exclusively to Daimler, noting only that it would be "absolutely significant."
Under Kallenius, the luxury carmaker has taken a strategic turn in terms of battery production which is different from its strategy under its former CEO who believed that in-house production of battery cells was too expensive for the company. Under this new strategy, Daimler is moving toward striving for more control over its battery supply chain. Back in July this year, the German company had announced its aim of the establishment of eight gigafactories with a total installed capacity of 200 GWh.
ACC already has a presence in Germany, with a 2 billion euro investment in a battery cell factory in Kaiserslautern, which is set to begin production in 2025.
ACC had previously said that the firm intends to extend its European network, but that particular locations have yet to be chosen.
While making the announcement for the gigafactories in July, Daimler had noted that four of the eight facilities would be set up in Europe and one in the United States. The company is currently in negotiations for potential partnerships for setting up the factories in both regions while also discussing further investments.
"Everyone talked to us, everyone wants to do business with us," Kallenius said, adding that the company planned on building all its cell factories through joint ventures.
"There are no concrete plans to make our own 'Daimler-only' factories," Kallenius said.
Daimler presently sources its batteries from Asian partners such as CATL, SK Innovation, and LG Chem, and last year purchased a 3 per cent stake in Chinese-American producer Farasis.
CATL and Farasis are both constructing battery plants in Germany, although manufacturing will not begin until 2022 and 2024, respectively.
Daimler also stated that the battery cells made by ACC would be 95 per cent recyclable in order to meet the company's objective of having a CO2-neutral supply chain by 2039.

Christopher J. Mitchell

Markets | Companies | M&A | Innovation | People | Management | Lifestyle | World | Misc