Mercedes-Benz has launched a strategic partnership with the Chinese battery cell manufacturer Farasis Energy, and taken an equity stake in the company. Key elements of the agreement include the development and industrialization of advanced cell technologies as well as goals for cost competitiveness. The technological focus is on significant increases in range through advances in energy density and charging time reduction. The contract will provide a secure supply of battery cells for Mercedes-Benz’s electrification strategy, while Farasis gains security for its CO2-neutral battery cell plant in Bitterfeld-Wolfen.
“We are very pleased to further expand our partnership with Farasis in taking a decisive step within the implementation of our ‘Electric first’ strategy,” said Mercedes-Benz COO Markus Schäfer. “With this agreement, we contribute our expertise in the field of battery cell development. At the same time, we are providing a boost for Farasis’s new plant and promoting the sustainable development of a key technology and its establishment in Germany. We share with our partner the common vision of a more sustainable world through CO2-neutral mobility.”
Hubertus Troska, a member of Daimler’s Board of Management, added, “China is the world’s largest EV market, with tremendous potential for further development. By taking a stake in a Chinese battery cell manufacturer for the first time, we will further leverage the potential of advanced technology partners in the market, enabling us to pursue our electric strategy globally.”
At first glance, the Department of Energy’s latest stats on public fast chargers indicate that we’re in the midst of a thrilling standards war, with the two competitors running neck-and-neck.
There are two competing DC fast charging standards in the US (aside from Tesla’s proprietary Supercharger): CHArge de MOve (CHAdeMO), favored by Japanese and Korean automakers; and the SAE Combined Charging System (CCS), championed by the American and German brands. The DOE reports that, as of late June, the US had over 2,600 charging stations that use the CHAdeMO connector, and nearly 2,400 stations using the CCS plug. In terms of individual outlets, CCS outlets have a slight edge (5,000) over CHAdeMO (4,000).
As a practical matter however, the war is gradually becoming irrelevant. As the number of DC fast chargers continues to grow, most charging providers are equipping their stations with both connectors. Electrify America, which currently operates 443 stations (and recently completed its first coast-to-coast route) makes both CCS and CHAdeMO plugs available at all its locations.
When it comes to charging speed, CCS currently has the edge. Some of Electrify America’s CCS chargers can deliver up to 350 kW of power (a level which few of today’s EVs can support), whereas its CHAdeMO chargers are limited to 50 kW (still plenty fast to top up your EV while you enjoy a nice cup of tea).