Tesla

Daimler AG has announced a new division to develop and market around the world an energy storage system based on lithium-ion battery technology.

It’s a system that is clearly set to go head to head in the international market with Tesla’s Powerwall.

It was only a matter of time before a major German business began working on stationary energy storage, since Germany has decommissioned nuclear power stations and shifted focus to renewable energy sources – principally wind. But the problem with wind is that it isn’t always blowing.

A combination of wind and solar energy can largely overcome the lack of baseload power generation, but not necessarily in full. Solar panels at home and the ability to store that energy captured for use at night will further obviate the need for coal-fired or nuclear power generation running around the clock.

And in the future, widespread adoption of fuel-cell technology in cars could lead to the car powering the family home at night – as long as there’s some repository for power to juggle the supply from the car to the house.

Hence the attraction of energy storage.

According to Daimler the market for stationary energy storage systems is growing, and particularly in Germany, where the manufacture of the systems for Daimler is undertaken by a wholly-owned subsidiary, Deutsche Accumotive GmbH. Stationary energy storage has application in industry as well as in domestic situations.

Accumotive, which is also producing batteries for automotive applications, will manufacture the stationary energy storage systems, but marketing and sales of the units will be handled by Mercedes-Benz Energy, a new business entity.

Staff at Mercedes-Benz Energy currently number 50, but that is set to double by the end of this year, and double again to 200 by the end of 2017. Such is the demand for the new energy storage systems, the company claims.

The reach of Mercedes-Benz Energy won’t be limited to Germany for long. There are plans in place, apparently, for the company to spread its wings and begin marketing the Accumotive energy storage systems in other markets around the world – including Tesla’s own backyard, northern California.

“By founding Mercedes-Benz Energy GmbH, we are underscoring our ambition to be a technological and market leader in the field of highly efficient storage systems,” said Daimler AG’s head of development, electrics/electronics and E-Drive, Harald Kröger.

“With our unique combination of high standards of quality and safety and positive economies of scale, we are supporting the success of the new energy era while helping to make electromobility affordable.”

Each stationary battery module can store 2.5kWh of energy and can be combined with up to seven other modules to store 20kWh. The company claims that scalability is “many times greater in the field of industrial applications”.