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Mercedes-Benz partners with CATL to supply batteries for electric models

The German luxury car maker plans to launch its electric luxury sedan next year.

Left- Markus Schäfer, Member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG and Mercedes-Benz AG; Right-Dr. Robin Zeng, Founder, Chairman and CEO of CATL

Chinese battery manufacturer Contemporary Amperex Technology Co. Limited (CATL) and Mercedes-Benz will jointly develop high-tech battery technologies to support the large-scale electrification of the Mercedes-Benz model lineup, the German luxury carmaker announced on Wednesday.

The cooperation covers the full range of battery technologies, from cells across modules for passenger cars to entire battery systems for Mercedes-Benz vans. It includes the CATL cell-to-pack design, which eliminates conventional modules and integrates the cells directly into the battery, the company said.

CATL further announced that it will use electricity from renewable sources to reduce its carbon footprint. The parties predict that carbon-neutral battery cell production can save over 30% of the CO2 of an entire battery.

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Markus Schäfer, a Daimler and Mercedes-Benz board member, said that the firm is combining its development expertise with bold partners.

“We will integrate cutting-edge battery systems to create luxury cars with outstanding range, charging speed, safety, and sustainability,” he said. “CATL will be a major supplier securing capacity for the next generations of our EQ products in the years to come.”

The German carmaker plans to launch its electric luxury sedan next year with a WLTP (Worldwide Harmonized Light Vehicle Test Procedure) range of over 700 kilometers equipped with CATL cell modules.

Mercedes-Benz is only one of many foreign carmakers partnering with CATL, the world’s largest automotive lithium-ion battery manufacturer. Just last month, Tesla and Honda signed agreements with the firm. Chinese government policies encourage foreign automakers to use domestically produced batteries. Although there is no written rule banning non-Chinese suppliers, foreign brands in China prefer local battery suppliers out of concerns that imported parts might not be compliant.

“The premise is that locally produced cars in China are obligated to use local batteries,” Volkswagen Group’s former China chief Jochem Heizmann told Bloomberg last year.

Featured photo: Daimler’s Markus Schäfer (left) and Dr. Robin Zeng, founder, chairman, and CEO of CATL. Photos courtesy of Daimler and CATL.