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Sunday, November 16, 2014

Germany exits EV Battery Cell Manufacture Business

The only German factory that produces battery cells for electric cars is closing. Within little more than one year, the company Li-Tec in Saxon Kamenz, will cease manufacture of battery cells. The company is a subsidiary of the Daimler Group.

"Our cells are very good, but at current production figures too expensive", the Daimler-manager Harald Kröger justified the closure in an interview with SPIEGEL. Last week, Daimler had 250 employees internally announced the end of the factory, more than half should be able to remain in the group. Only mass production makes such factories profitable. Therefore, it was part of the Daimler-calculus that other auto companies participate and would leave produce in Kamenz cells for their e-Mobile. But the partners did not materialize.

Now the company changes its strategy. "We have realised that a car manufacturer does not have to produce the cells themselves," says Kroeger.

The Li-Tec factory will close December 2015 but will be retained as a research location; the majority of the 280 employees will be transferred to the Deutsche Accumotive—also a wholly owned Daimler subsidiary—which manufactures battery packs. Accumotive is currently expanding its production capacity to build systems for the next generation of the electric smart among others. Cells are slated to come from LG Chem.

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