Mercedes-Benz concept BlueZero - Click above for high-res image gallery

In 2008 Daimler and Evonik announced their plans for a joint venture to produce lithium ion batteries for the automaker's upcoming hybrid and electric vehicles. What may be a combination of confidence in the technology and fear of upcoming CO2 regulations is apparently prompting the partners to dramatically scale up production plans. The two companies will invest an extra €200 million to expand cell production from the originally-announced 300,000 units in 2011 to 2.9 million by 2013.

By 2013, automakers doing business in Europe will have to achieve fleet average CO2 emissions of 130 g/km. However, if Daimler remains at 160 g/km – as it is today – it will have to pay up over €2 billion in fines. Producing more electric and hybrid vehicles would allow it to dramatically reduce those fines.

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