Mercedes-Benz joins Stellantis battery joint venture

Breana Noble
The Detroit News

Daimler AG's Mercedes-Benz will become an equal partner in Stellantis NV's battery manufacturing joint venture in Europe, making a move the companies say will accelerate research and development and more than double battery production capacity by the end of the decade.

The automakers will each hold a third of the ownership of Automotive Cells Co. along with French oil and gas conglomerate TotalEnergies SE, which includes battery business Saft. Mercedes-Benz will invest a mid-three-digit-million euros amount next year expected to be below $1.17 billion. The partnership, which is subject to regulatory approval, is expected to increase ACC's cell capacity to at least 120 gigawatt-hours in Europe by 2030. ACC also possibly could expand to the United States in the future.

Mercedes-Benz joins Stellantis NV's battery manufacturing joint venture, Automotive Cells Co., as a shareholder.

“We welcome Mercedes-Benz as a strategic partner who shares our ambition to accelerate ACC’s leadership,” Stellantis CEO Carlos Tavares said in a statement. “This consortium leverages our shared technical expertise and manufacturing synergies, and continues to ensure that Stellantis leads the way the world moves in the most efficient, affordable and sustainable way.”

An $8.19 billion (7 billion euros) investment will be needed to get to 120 gigawatt-hours of production. It will be supported by subsidies and financed by equity and debit, according to a news release from Stellantis.

Mercedes-Benz is seeking to go all-electric with a need for more than 200 gigawatt-hours of production capacity by the end of the decade. ACC will supply it with battery technologies starting mid-decade. The German automaker will hold two of six seats on ACC's supervisory board.

“Mercedes-Benz pursues a very ambitious transformation plan and this investment marks a strategic milestone on our path to CO2 neutrality,” Ola Källenius, CEO of Daimler and Mercedes-Benz, said in a statement. “This new partnership allows us to secure supply, to take advantage of economies of scale, and to provide our customers with superior battery technology."

ACC has plans to manufacture batteries starting in 2023 in France. Plants in Douvrin, France, and Kaiserslautern, Germany, could each produce up to 32 gigawatt-hours. Capacity for a Termoli, Italy, site has not been shared. During an EV Day in July, Stellantis suggested ACC could open a battery plant by 2030 in North America as well.

Supported by French, German and European authorities, ACC is an advocate created in August 2020 for European production of electric-vehicle batteries and a secure supply and transition to emission-free transportation.

“To have Mercedes-Benz join us as a new shareholder is a major milestone for ACC,” CEO Yann Vincent said in a statement. “Mercedes-Benz will bring a vote of confidence in our technology roadmap and product competitiveness that significantly strengthens ACC’s business potential and underpins our ambitious growth plans."

Twitter: @BreanaCNoble