Daimler has laid the foundation for its second battery factory, saying it was "taking the next strategic step in its electric offensive".
Its wholly-owned subsidiary, Accumotive in Kamenz, is building a second lithium-ion battery at a cost of around EUR500m.
Guests of honour at the ceremony were Federal Chancellor Dr. Angela Merkel and Stanislaw Tillich (Minister President of Saxony), who, together with Dieter Zetsche (Chairman of the Board of Daimler AG and Head of Mercedes-Benz Cars), Markus Schäfer (Member of the Divisional Board of Mercedes-Benz Cars, Production and Supply Chain), Frank Deiss (Head of Powertrain Production and Site Manager Mercedes-Benz Plant Untertürkheim) and Frank Blome (Managing Director Deutsche Accumotive GmbH & Co. KG), laid the casing of a vehicle battery as the foundation stone.
"The automotive industry is facing a fundamental transformation and we see ourselves as the driving force behind this change," said Daimler chairman Dieter Zetsche at a ceremony to mark the occasion. "The battery factory is an important component in the implementation of our electric offensive. By 2022, we will have more than 10 purely electric passenger cars in series."
Daimler is spending around EUR1bn on the global production source for EV batteries.
"With the second battery plant in Kamenz, we are giving the initial start for the development of the first premium eBattery factory," said Mercedes-Benz Cars production and supply chain head Markus Schäfer. "The local production of batteries is an important success factor in our electric offensive and a crucial element in order to flexibly and efficiently serve the global demand for electric vehicles. This makes our production network very well positioned for future mobility."
The new factory, about 50km (30 miles) from Dresden, is scheduled to go into operation in mid-2018. Covering an area of around 20 hectares, the site is adjacent to the existing battery factory. The new plant will quadruple the production and logistics area in Kamenz to around 80,000 square meters. In the next few years Accumotive will gradually increase the number of employees at the site. By the end of the decade, it will have over 1,000 employees, more than double the number today.
"To date, we have delivered more than 80,000 [li-ion] batteries," said Deutsche Accumotive managing director Frank Blome.
The second battery factory has been designed as a CO2-neutral factory with an energy balance of zero. The production facilities will be supplied with energy from a combined heat and power plant and a photovoltaic plant in combination with stationary battery storage units.
Mercedes-Benz Cars plans to spend EUR10bn launching at least 10 new electric passenger cars by 2022 in all market segments from Smart city cars to large SUVs. The new vehicles will be produced in plants on four continents. The first EQ series model will come off the line in Bremen at the end of the decade while luxury-class EQ models will be produced at Sindelfingen.
The automaker expects assumes the proportion of electric vehicles in total unit sales of Mercedes-Benz will be between 15% and 25% by 2025.
Accumotive will also produce batteries for Mercedes-Benz energy storage units and 48 volt systems such as the on board power supply introduced with the latest S-Class planned for upcoming new models.
Kamenz will also supply batteries for commercial vehicles as Mercedes-Benz Vans launches series production of Vito and Sprinter EVs next year while Daimler Trucks will launch a small run of the Fuso eCanter later this year.
The eCanter will be delivered in small runs with the first 150 units for sale in Japan, Europe and the US.
Mercedes-Benz Trucks is also starting customer testing of the Urban eTruck, the world's first full electric, heavy duty truck.
Meanwhile, Daimler Buses is launching a full electric Mercedes Benz city bus in series production next year. Prototypes are already on the road.