Mercedes' S400 BlueHybrid is headed to production soon as well, though thanks to its relatively mild-hybrid design and limited sales volume, it won't likely be enough on its own to support substantial production of lithium-ion batteries. A smaller class of hybrid and electric vehicles, like the E-Cell, F-Cell and E-Cell Plus, on the other hand, could provide that volume.
Nevertheless, the S400 hybrid is the first intended target for the new batteries. Evonik says its lithium batteries are uniquely well-suited to automotive applications thanks to their low weight and high durability.
The projections that have justified the joint venture into the battery production field for Daimler see over 1 million electric vehicles being sold in Germany by 2020, with over $13 billion in battery sales, reports EE Times. Over 1,000 jobs will be created to fill the demand for battery production as well.
Toyota, producer of the ubiquitous Prius hybrid, is already heavily involved in its own battery production, and other carmakers, such as Volkswagen and Renault-Nissan, are also delving into the field in preparation for their next-generation vehicles.
Daimler has acquired 49.9% of Evonik to secure its own battery supply, but the duo is still seeking a third shareholder in the electronic systems integration. A secondary joint venture aimed directly at creating automotive applications will also be formed, with Daimler holding 90% and Evonik 10%.