Daimler AG on Wednesday said it will add battery manufacturing capabilities to its German Mercedes-Benz plants in Sindelfingen and Untertuerkheim. This can possibly mean that the manufacturer is planning a major transition from combustion to electric cars.
The carmaker previously has announced a 1.5 billion euro ($1.75 billion) transformation plan to allow Mercedes-Benz plants to build massively zero-emissions and autonomous vehicles. Now, Daimler confirmed that this battery deal is part of the plan.
“We are transforming the traditional Untertuerkheim plant into a high tech location for electric car components with the expansion of battery production,” Frank Deiss, head of the powertrain production at Mercedes-Benz Cars said.
After the retooling of German Mercedes-Benz plants, Daimler will have 8 factories that will be capable of building batteries for future zero-emission Mercedes-Benz cars. It already builds batteries in Kamenz, Germany, and is building further plants in Beijing, Bangkok and Tuscaloosa, Alabama.
Additionally, Daimler said that the Sindelfingen plant will be the center of competence for building large luxurious autonomous and electric cars. This plant currently produces the high-end Mercedes-Benz S-Class model.
Simultaneously, the carmaker announced that it will deepen a partnership with China’s Baidu on automated driving and vehicle connectivity services.
“Automated driving and connectivity are progressing at an unprecedented rate in China, and our continued success depends not only on staying ahead of these trends but on leading them,” Daimler Chief Executive Dieter Zetsche said in a statement.
Baidu Chief Executive Robin Li said, “The automotive industry will evolve according to a drastically different logic, from vertical integration to a platform-based ecosystem, making now the optimal time for global automakers and tech companies to work together and deepen cooperation.”
Daimler is currently testing autonomous vehicles in Beijing, the carmaker said.