Mercedes-Benz and CATL (Contemporary Amperex Technology Limited) have entered the next stage of their strategic partnership and will develop battery technology in support of the high-volume electrification of the Mercedes-Benz model range.

The automaker is accelerating its Electric First strategy with advanced, CO2-neutrally produced battery cells, modules and systems supplied by CATL, a technology leader in lithium-ion batteries. The agreement covers the full range of battery technologies, from cells across modules for passenger cars to entire battery systems for vans in promising innovative technology configurations. This also includes the CATL cell-to-pack (CTP) design, which eliminates conventional modules and integrates the cells directly into the battery.

"We intend to lead in battery technologies, so we are now combining our own research and development expertise with bold partners. We will integrate battery systems to create luxury cars with outstanding range, charging speed, safety and sustainability. Working with CATL will see us accelerate our transformation towards carbon-neutrality," said Daimler research chief Markus Schaefer. "CATL will be a major supplier securing capacity for the next generations of our EQ products in the years to come."

The two partners have already started working on future battery generations to be introduced in a number of vehicles within the next few years. The goal is to shorten development cycles, significantly increase the ranges of future batteries through advances in energy density and reduce charging times. In order to make electrification even more attractive for customers in the luxury segment, the goals set are ambitious: With the EQS luxury sedan, which will be delivered to customers next year, the development goal is a long distance range of more than 700km (WLTP range) and a doubling of the charging speed compared to current models. The EQS will also be equipped with CATL cell modules.

To enable carbon neutral, CATL will use electricity from renewable energy sources, such as wind, solar and hydropower for its production. CO2-neutral battery cell production alone can save over 30% of the CO2 footprint of an entire battery. At the beginning of 2020, Mercedes-Benz and CATL had already launched a joint pilot project using blockchain technology to create transparency on the emissions of climate-damaging gases and the proportion of secondary material along the battery cell supply chain. The next step is to significantly reduce the reliance on raw material mining through the recycling of end of life batteries.