Under the microscope: network of expertise: Bundling expertise and securing know-how
In addition to its internal development and production expertise and its modular strategy for alternative powertrains, part of Daimler AG's philosophy is to ensure that it has direct access to key components for electric mobility. Through its wholly owned subsidiary Deutsche Accumotive, Daimler can rely on extensive expertise in the development and production of highly complex drive batteries. NuCellSys is acknowledged as a global leader in the development of fuel cell systems and hydrogen storage systems for vehicle applications. The network of expertise also includes joint ventures, for example with Bosch for electric motors (EM-motive), but also as a partner with H2 Mobility GmbH in order to build up the hydrogen infrastructure as well as with efforts to create a Europe-wide, rapid charging network. With a view to the development of an all-encompassing electric mobility eco-system, Daimler AG is also investing in cooperation with selected partners such as the charging solution provider ChargePoint.
Daimler is investing more than a billion euros in the creation of a global battery production network; 500 million euros of this money will be going into the construction of a second battery manufacturing plant in Germany in order to significantly expand the production capacity for lithium-ion batteries by Deutsche Accumotive GmbH & Co. KG (see separate section). Deutsche Accumotive, founded in 2009, is a wholly owned subsidiary of Daimler AG with facilities in Kirchheim/Nabern (R+D) and Kamenz (production). The company develops and markets highly complex drive batteries for hybrid and electric vehicles based on lithium-ion technology that are used in models by the Mercedes-Benz and smart brands. Daimler launched into the new line of business with stationary battery storage systems in 2015, and has opened up additional opportunities to grow outside the automotive sector. The "Mercedes-Benz Energy GmbH" subsidiary has taken over responsibility for the development and worldwide sales of stationary energy storage units marketed under the Mercedes-Benz brand name. Please refer to the relevant section for more information about stationary battery storage.
The largest second-life battery storage system in the world was launched in October 2016 at the main REMONDIS site in the Westphalian town of Lünen, Germany. The 13-megawatt-hour project is a joint venture between partners Daimler AG, The Mobility House AG and GETEC. All in all, 1,000 used battery systems from second-generation smart electric drive vehicles have been combined to create a stationary storage facility that is made available on the German, primary regulation energy market.
Back in 2016 cooperation partners Mercedes-Benz Energy and enercity (Stadtwerke Hannover AG) started construction of a new battery storage unit. Its special characteristic is that this facility is a spare parts warehouse for electromotive battery systems. Around 3000 of the battery modules set aside for the current smart electric drive vehicle fleet are being pooled to create a stationary storage facility at the enercity site in Herrenhausen. With a storage capacity totalling 17.5 MWh, the facility is one of the largest of its kind in Europe.
EM-motive is a joint venture between Daimler AG and Robert Bosch GmbH aimed at developing and producing electric motors. EM-motive GmbH's registered offices and production facilities are in Hildesheim, while its development function is based in Ludwigsburg near Stuttgart. The motors have been used in various electric and hybrid vehicles since 2012, and for instance, EM-motive currently supplies the 80 kW electric motor for the Mercedes-Benz E 350 e.
Daimler AG is also working with BMW Group, Ford Motor Company and Volkswagen Group, Audi and Porsche, on plans for a joint venture to create an ultra-fast, high-performance charging network along important European transport routes with a charging capacity of up to 350 kW. A Memorandum of Understanding on this project was signed by the partners last year, with construction of the first sites due to start later this year. The first stage envisages some 400 locations being established across Europe. The aim is that, by 2020, customers will have access to thousands of high-performance charging points. The charging points, along motorways and major transit routes, will be publicly accessible, so making long-distance travel in an electric vehicle a real possibility.
In spring 2017 Daimler AG became lead investor in the US charging solution provider ChargePoint Inc. The aim of this strategic investment is to significantly expand the portfolio of intelligent charging solutions and provide customers with an all-embracing, premium, electric mobility service. Currently offering more than 40,000 charging spots, ChargePoint is the world's leading provider in the electric mobility charging solutions segment and the company is market leader in the US. The plan is to expand the business to the European market.
NuCellSys GmbH is based in Kirchheim/Nabern in the Stuttgart metropolitan area. This wholly owned subsidiary of Daimler AG was responsible for developing the complete fuel cell unit and hydrogen storage system for the GLC F‑CELL. NuCellSys is a global leader in the development of fuel cell systems and hydrogen storage systems for vehicle applications.
By establishing H2 MOBILITY Deutschland GmbH & Co.KG as a cross-functional joint venture in 2015, the six industrial companies Air Liquide, Daimler, Linde, OMV, Shell and Total paved the way for a gradual expansion of the Germany-wide network of hydrogen (H2) refuelling stations to as many as 400 sites by 2023. The network of H2 refuelling stations in Germany continues to grow apace: sites in Wiesbaden and Frankfurt were launched in June, with Sindelfingen and Pforzheim following in July. In early September, Karlsruhe joined as the 33rd hydrogen refuelling station site in Germany.
In January 2017, 13 leading companies from the energy, transport and industrial sectors, including Daimler, joined forces to establish the "Hydrogen Council". The shared vision and long-term goal of the Council is to use hydrogen to drive forward the energy revolution.
Daimler AG holds a majority share of 50.1 percent in the "Automotive Fuel Cell Cooperation" (AFCC) in Burnaby to the East of Vancouver in Canada. AFCC was responsible for developing the fuel cell stack of the GLC F-CELL. The company, a technological leader in the research and development of fuel cell stacks for automotive applications, was established in 2008. The remaining share of 49.9% is held by Ford Motor Company.
The stacks are also produced in the immediate vicinity of AFCC at Mercedes-Benz Fuel Cell (MBFC), operating the world's first plant dedicated entirely to the production and assembly of fuel cell stacks in British Columbia. MBFC started production back in June 2012.
Daimler Trucks, the trucks division of Daimler AG, recently invested in a strategic partnership with StoreDot Ltd from Israel. Established in 2012, this company is a pioneer in nanotechnology materials and one of the leading companies working on electric charging systems and energy storage materials. The focus of the strategic partnership is on rapid charging for batteries. The systems are currently at an advanced stage of development.