Plans for Mercedes to release the ML 450 hybrid in 2009 may very well be canceled. The maker of the nickel metal hydride (NiMH) batteries that was to provide the energy storage component for the SUV, Cobasys, seems to be refusing to begin production of the essential part. It appears the company's parent firms, Chevron (who just posted a $5.98 billion 2nd quarter profit) and Energy Conversion Devices (ECD) have "pulled funding" from the battery supplier, preventing it from meeting manufacturing commitments agreed upon last year.
No stranger to accusations of conspiracy when it comes squelching green-tech batteries, Chevron is again facing the charge in a lawsuit filed last week by Mercedes that claims the company colluded with ECD and Cobasys to keep the imminent sale of the distressed battery maker a secret to prevent the German firm from canceling the battery deal. The suit also alleges that Cobasys refused to begin production in case the terms of the contract were not seen as favorable to the new owners. This situation should make for interesting reading in the months to come and, we suspect, give folks yet another reason to dislike oil companies.
[Source: Information Week]