Tesla, it seems, is inspiring some of the biggest names in the automobile industry, and Mercedes is the latest one. The luxury automaker is now venturing beyond automobiles and looking to step into the energy storage business as well. Mercedes also plans to sell standalone battery packs for home and commercial energy storage.
Mercedes testing battery packs
Daimler, the parent company of Mercedes, is testing battery packs that can provide energy to houses and plans to launch them commercially in September, according to a report from Australia’s Motoring. As per the report, like Tesla, Daimler has been testing the product for some time now.
Mercedes’ parent company set up a subsidiary called ACCUmotive in 2009 to develop lithium-ion batteries, building an energy storage array that is looked after by German electricity joint venture Coulomb. The system’s 96 lithium-ion “modules” will deliver a combined 500 kilowatts of storage capacity, which is used to stabilize the Saxony Kamenz power grid. Further, the automaker is looking to increase this installation to 3,000 kWh of storage capacity, says the report.
ACCUmotive shipped over 60,000 lithium-ion cells to its customers, and Mercedes-Benz could be one of those. However, taking a cue from Tesla, now it seems Mercedes is looking to enter the business itself.
Mercedes is now testing the battery packs for “light industrial, commercial, and private” applications with sizes ranging from 2.5 kWh to 5.9 kWh. The company stated that the standalone battery packs can also be combined to offer increased storage capacity for any site.
Does Tesla need to worry?
Unlike Tesla, Daimler’s approach to the energy storage business is not that straightforward. Tesla is focusing on manufacturing batteries in its massive Nevada gigafactory in order to supply low-cost lithium-ion cells for the upcoming Model 3 electric car. Daimler is not aiming to manufacture batteries in huge quantity even though it is currently offering the Mercedes-Benz B-Class Electric Drive, Smart Fortwo Electric Drive, and soon, a full range of plug-in hybrid models. Also, it is not clear how Daimler is planning to supply huge quantities of batteries without having a facility as huge as Tesla gigafactory.
Even though Daimler is not looking to expand its battery operation as much as Tesla, the company definitely has the potential to give Tesla a run for its money. Daimler is a recognized brand known all over the world, a privilege not available to any other small storage battery company.