Daimler Trucks changes its battery strategy to avoid competition with cars
HANNOVER, Germany – Daimler Trucks is migrating its battery chemistry to a formula that removes nickel and cobalt to improve durability and reduce competition with the passenger car industry for rare materials.
Daimler will gradually migrate its vehicles to the lithium iron phosphate batteries it has developed in partnership with the Chinese CATL. Iron and phosphate cost much less and are easier to extract than other battery materials.
“They are both cheap and plentiful almost everywhere and will certainly help reduce pressure on the battery supply chain as adoption grows,” said Guidehouse Insights analyst Sam Abuelsamid.
Daimler, the German parent company of truck brands Freightliner and Western Star, announced the strategy as it launched a long-haul electric truck for the European market on Monday at IAA Transportation 2022.
“My fear is that if the whole passenger car market, not just Tesla or high-end cars, switches to batteries, there will be a fight,” said Martin Daum, CEO of Daimler Truck. Automotive News. “And a fight always means higher prices.”
Eliminating nickel and cobalt, the rarest elements going into vehicle batteries, lowers the cost, he said. According to BloombergNEF, lithium iron phosphate (LFP) battery cells cost about 30% less than nickel manganese cobalt (NMC) cells.
“The much lower cost, superior durability and safety make LFP a very attractive prospect for many use cases, especially commercial vehicles,” Abuelsamid said.
Freightliner and other Daimler brands now use NMC chemistry which relies on lithium and manganese in addition to nickel and cobalt.