14 May 18

Daimler picks Chinese CATL for EQ battery supply

The Chinese company CATL (Contemporary Amperex Technology) is strengthening its position as the world’s largest automotive drive battery supplier. Daimler, the world’s leading premium car maker, has closed a deal with the company for the provision of batteries for Mercedes electric EQ models.

For now, it is not clear whether the contract only concerns China-built Mercedes EQ cars. Earlier this year, the Germans announced that it would be investing €1.5 billion in its local joint venture with the state-owned BAIC to accommodate for the ambitious electrification plans. In 2019, a GLC-sized SUV carrying the EQ badge (pictured) will start rolling off the production line.

Ethical mining

Daimler has also reaffirmed its commitment to the Responsible Cobalt Initiative (RCI), a program established under a Chinese industry body to address risks in the cobalt supply chain arising from artisanal mining. RCI unites high-profile cobalt users such as Apple Inc, Sony Corp and Volvo and was established under the China Chamber of Commerce of Metals, Minerals and Chemicals Importers and Exporters in 2016.

About 60 percent of the world’s cobalt comes from the Democratic Republic of Congo. Amnesty International reports that about 20% of the country’s cobalt production is mined by hand by informal miners including children, often in abysmal conditions. RCI's goal is zero child labor, something that can only be achieved if the whole supply chain and consumers work together, its chairman Sin Lihui told Reuters last month.

Picture copyright: Daimler, 2018

Authored by: Dieter Quartier