Mercedes-Benz’ latest EQ electric vehicles are making waves in the premium EV market, and its next generation of EVs – as shown by the ultra-efficient Mercedes-Benz VISION EQXX concept – will simply raise the competitive bar for range and performance even higher… and Mercedes thinks that the best way to achieve its goals is by going it alone.
Mercedes’ EQ lineup of electric vehicles is an interesting mix of Mercedes-Benz engineering and construction know-how and electric vehicle expertise from other companies. For batteries, the company has worked with CATL for EQS batteries in China and announced plans to join forces with Stellantis and Total Energies as equal partners in Automotive Cells Company (ACC) to make battery cells for electric cars in Europe. For the electric motors in its EQ cars, Mercedes reached out to ZF for motors in the EQC, and longtime electric motor supplier, Valeo Siemens, for the more powerful motors used in the EQS.
As supply chain issues and chip shortages related to the COVID pandemic enter their third year and electric vehicles shift from an “EV bubble” niche into a mainstream automotive conversation, however, the need to own the tech has become apparent to Mercedes-Benz.
To that end, Daimler’s head of development Markus Schäfer told Automobilwoche (the German Automotive News outlet) that Mercedes-Benz would develop the entire drivetrain for its recently announced MMA and MB.EA platforms completely in-house, with a 2024 launch date. “We want to control the overall system of electric motor, battery, and power electronics as well as possible, similar to the way the combustion engine does.”
Mercedes will still play nice with batteries
It’s interesting to see that, while Mercedes-Benz is planning to bring electric motor development in-house, there is no mention of them abandoning their battery partnerships or previously stated plans to build eight new “giga factories” in Europe in the coming years.
Indeed, MB’s interest, along with other longtime partners, Hyundai and Stellantis, in US-based Factorial Energy might be linked to comments from Schäfer about Merc developing its own cells, though that was less clear.
Mercedes-Benz is trying to move quickly to catch Tesla, and it seems to be using Tesla as a benchmark here. Ask yourself, does MB really need to build its own electric motors to deliver a suitable “Mercedes” experience? If that’s the case, then someone ought to tell the people lining up to drop six-figures on a new EQS 580 4MATIC, you know?
No, this is because EV stocks are hot. Companies like Tesla and Rivian have market caps that make MB’s board green with envy, and they need to build EV bits to be able to call themselves an EV company. One thing they don’t need to be able to do that, as Tesla also taught them, is go it alone with batteries. Where goes Tesla, it seems, so goes Mercedes-Benz.
The “We’re an EV company now!” pitch will come soon enough, I’m sure.