Mercedes-Benz enters the U.S. energy storage market

The new company will help develop and will sell Lithium-ion batteries made by Daimler’s wholly-owned subsidiary Deutsche Accumotive, including efforts by Mercedes-Benz Research & Development North America, based in Sunnyvale, California. Mercedes-Benz has committed some €1 billion toward the mass development of the battery line.

Within that investment, the company will spend €500 million on a second battery factory at the Accumotive site in Kamenz, Saxony, online in 2018. Accumotive has been producing EV batteries since 2009.

In a company statement, Marc Thomas, CEO of Mercedes-Benz Energy GmbH, in Germany, said, “By founding Mercedes-Benz Energy Americas, we are once again underscoring our ambition to be a technological and market leader in the field of highly efficient storage systems on a global scale.”

A independent residential storage product based on these batteries will be available early in 2017 in a range from 2.5 kWh to 20 kWh and include a 10-year warranty. A larger range commercial & industrial line is expected to follow.

And among its planned ventures into large-scale storage, Mercedes-Benz expects to build a 1 MW storage system to provide frequency regulation and demand response to PJM, a U.S. utility leader in the use of renewables for grid services.

Mercedes-Benz’ EQ concept vehicle EQ is a new generation of electric vehicles that will be capable of a driving range of up to 500 kilometers; the vehicle is part of the corporation’s CASE future growth plan. CASE stands for connectivity (Connected), autonomous driving (Autonomous), flexible use (Shared & Services) and electric drive systems (Electric). The company is also developing a plug-in-hybrid line and is refining the use of 48-volt-systems.

The EQ ecosystem will include home EV chargers, intelligent charging applications for computers and hand-held devices, and may expand to include car-sharing, online automobile purchasing, among other innovations.

With 10 electric vehicles on the drawing board for 2025 within its EQ segment, Mercedes-Benz is moving into the mass-market for EV — and storage — that a variety of U.S. automakers have finally embraced in the last few years. While Tesla may prove to have a commanding residential line of storage, the price of its vehicles and its lack of a long corporate history may place it at a perceived disadvantage to Mercedes-Benz in this market.