Daimler Is the First EU Company to Start Constructions on Its Own Gigafactory

Mercedes-Benz Generation EQ Concept 1 photo
Photo: Mercedes-Benz
Daimler, best known to us as the parent company of Mercedes-Benz, is proving it takes the push for delivering competitive electric vehicles serious by announcing the start of constructions at its battery plant near Berlin.
It's impossible not to draw parallels with Tesla's Gigafactory in Nevada, where the American company builds its new lithium-ion battery cells, with help from Japanese specialist Panasonic. However, the estimated cost of Daimler's facility is significantly lower than that of Tesla's at €500 million ($543 million).

But it still makes Daimler's plant the largest of its kind in Europe, which explains why the German Chancellor Angela Merkel was present there today, May 22, to break ground for the construction site.

Tesla is expected to open its own Gigafactory in Europe soon, as well as in China and at least one more in the U.S., but the exact timeframe for any of these is unknown. Elon Musk has been scouting for locations and he hasn't been short on suitors, but he hasn't revealed his decision yet - if he's even made one in the first place.

Late last year, during the Paris Motor Show, Mercedes-Benz launched a new sub-brand dedicated to alternative propulsion methods (read battery-powered electric vehicles) that it called EQ. After showing a concept for the brand's first model, a medium-sized crossover with an impressive estimated maximum range and an exterior that was both revolutionary, and yet very Mercedes-Benz, the company also made plans for more than ten other electric cars that it would bring to market by 2022. The first of them, the one based on the Generation EQ crossover, is expected to debut in 2019.

The plant located just 130 km (81 miles) south of Berlin is going to be vital for Mercedes-Benz's new venture into home energy storage devices as well. The Germans have recently launched their version of the Powerwall, with stackable 2.5 kWh modules offering up to 20 kWh of storage capacity for those looking to have a backup or make better use of their solar energy systems. Mercedes also teamed up with Vivint Solar in the U.S. to offer a complete solar energy package.

Daimler did not disclose when the plant is going to be ready and what its final capacity will be, nor whether any other similar facilities are planned for the foreseeable future. However, depending on how successful its electric enterprises turn out to be, we will likely see an expansion similar to Tesla's.
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About the author: Vlad Mitrache
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"Boy meets car, boy loves car, boy gets journalism degree and starts job writing and editing at a car magazine" - 5/5. (Vlad Mitrache if he was a movie)
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