Daimler Trucks changes battery strategy to avoid competition for raw materials with passenger car business

Daimler Trucks plans to remove nickel and cobalt from its battery components to improve battery durability and reduce competition for scarce materials with the passenger car business,media reported.

Daimler trucks will gradually start using lithium iron phosphate (LFP) batteries developed by the company and Chinese company CATL. Iron and phosphates cost far less than other battery materials and are easier to mine. “They’re cheap, plentiful, and available almost everywhere, and as adoption increases, they’ll certainly help reduce pressure on the battery supply chain,” said Guidehouse Insights analyst Sam Abuelsamid.

On September 19, Daimler debuted its long-range electric truck for the European market at the 2022 Hannover International Transport Fair in Germany, and announced this battery strategy. Martin Daum, CEO of Daimler Trucks, said: “My concern is that if the entire passenger car market, not just Teslas or other high-end vehicles, turns to battery power, then there will be a market.’ Fight’, ‘fight’ always means a higher price.”

Daimler Trucks changes battery strategy to avoid competition for raw materials with passenger car business

Image credit: Daimler Trucks

Eliminating scarce materials such as nickel and cobalt could reduce battery costs, Daum said. BloombergNEF reports that LFP batteries cost about 30 percent less than nickel-manganese-cobalt (NMC) batteries.

Most electric passenger vehicles will continue to use NMC batteries because of their higher energy density. Daum said NMC batteries could allow small vehicles to get longer range.

Still, some of the passenger car makers will start using LFP batteries, especially in entry-level models, Abuelsamid said. For example, Tesla has started using LFP batteries in some vehicles produced in China. Abuelsamid said: “We expect that after 2025, LFP will likely account for at least one-third of the electric vehicle battery market, and most manufacturers will use LFP batteries in at least some models.”

Daum said that LFP battery technology makes sense for large commercial vehicles, where large trucks have enough space to accommodate larger batteries to compensate for the lower energy density of LFP batteries.

In addition, technological advancements may further narrow the gap between LFP and NMC cells. Abuelsamid expects that the cell-to-pack (CTP) architecture will remove the modular structure in the battery and help improve the energy density of LFP batteries. He explained that this new design doubles the amount of active energy storage material in the battery pack to 70 to 80 percent.

LFP also has the advantage of longer lifespan, because it doesn’t degrade to the same degree over thousands of cycles, Daum said. Many in the industry also believe that LFP batteries are safer because they operate at lower temperatures and are less prone to spontaneous combustion.

Daimler also unveiled the Mercedes-Benz eActros LongHaul Class 8 truck alongside the announcement of the change in battery chemistry. The truck, which will go into production in 2024, will be equipped with new LFP batteries. Daimler said it will have a range of about 483 kilometers.

Although Daimler only plans to sell the eActros in Europe, its batteries and other technology will appear on future eCascadia models, Daum said. “We want to achieve maximum commonality across all platforms,” ​​he said.

Post time: Sep-22-2022