Five-plus years may have been about enough time for Daimler AG to know whether it wanted to be in the battery-pack production business. The Mercedes-Benz parent may stop making electric-vehicle batteries and ultimately sell its Li-Tec battery-cell factory in Germany within two years, according to Bloomberg News which cites Manager Magazin. The beneficiary may be LG Electronics, which would likely take over battery-production duties for models such as Daimler's Smart ED battery-electric vehicle.
Daimler is taking a number of steps to improve profit margins, which are thinner than those of its German rivals like BMW. Like its German competition, the company has lagged behind companies such as Nissan, Renault and Tesla Motors in terms of aggressively pursuing growth via plug-in vehicle sales. Daimler spokesman Hendrik Sackmann, in an e-mail to AutoblogGreen, would only say that the battery business is growing "rapidly" and that Li-Tec is developing "according to our plans."
"Regarding Li-Tec, we are working on a concept for the future line-up," he added. "The battery cells for the successor of the Smart electric drive won't be provided by Li-Tec."
Daimler in 2008 launched Li-Tec as a joint venture with Evonik, though Daimler recently put plans together to buy out Evonik's 50-percent share of Li-Tec, Bloomberg reported last month. Evonik's role was manufacturing electrodes and separators for batteries. Daimler also said last fall that it was looking to cooperate more extensively with Tesla in regards to electric vehicle development. The two companies first said they'd work together in 2009.