As an indication of just how much money legacy carmakers are investing in electrification, Daimler today pledged to spend €20 billion ($23bn) on battery cells between now and 2030.
The announcement was made on Tuesday (11 December) and comes as rival VW Group plans to inject some $40 billion into its own electric and hybrid vehicles.
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Daimler, parent company of Mercedes-Benz and Smart, said it plans to bring 130 new models of electric and hybrid vehicle to market between now and 2022, along with electric vans, buses and trucks.
The company did not say who it would be buying the batteries from, but it is known Daimler already has supply deals with LG and SK Innovation of Korea and China's Contemporary Amperex Technology.
As with other electric car companies, Daimler buys the battery cells from third-party manufacturers, then builds these into its own battery packs, which are inserted into cars and other vehicles. Daimler has three battery assembly plants in its native Germany, plus Beijing, Bangkok, and Tuscaloosa, Alabama.
Daimler also said this week it is working to reduce its reliance on rare materials like cobalt in the production of future batteries. Mercedes' first all-electric car, known as the EQ and due on sale in 2019, will use batteries which are 20 percent cobalt. Future vehicles will see this reduced to 10 and then five percent, the company said. It is also working on solid-state batteries, which use no cobalt at all.
By 2022, the entire Mercedes portfolio will be electrified - meaning either powered by battery alone, or by a hybrid system comprising of an internal combustion engine and electric motor. The company predicts that, by 2025, sales of battery-electric vehicles and to increase to 15-25 percent of its total sales."Our electric offensive continues to gain momentum," said Dr Dieter Zetsche, chairman of the board of Daimler. "After investing billions of euros in the development of the electric fleet and the expansion of our global battery network, we are now taking the next step: With the purchase of battery cells for more than 20 billion euros, we are constantly pushing forward with the transformation into the electric future of our company."
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