Batteries are an integral part of any hybrid automobile. No batteries means no electric assist, which means no point in lugging around all that extra hardware. So Mercedes-Benz is in a world of hurt as it alleges that Cobasys, the chosen battery supplier for the upcoming ML 450 hybrid SUV, has decided not to fulfill its obligation to the German automaker. You might recall that General Motors had problems with leaky batteries from Cobasys, reportedly leading the automaker to consider purchasing the supplier outright from its current parents, Chevron and Energy Conversion Devices.
For its part, Mercedes-Benz has sued Cobasys and petitioned the court to order Cobasys to supply the batteries in had committed to. Cobasys CEO Thomas Neslage has denied that his company ever agreed to supply the batteries in the first place. If this situation isn't resolved in a timely manner, Mercedes-Benz may be forced to delay the introduction of its first-ever hybrid vehicle.
Update: Mercedes has told AutoblogGreen that cancellation is a worst case scenario and the company is still planning to introduce the ML450 Two-Mode hybrid in late 2009. A mild hybrid S400 is also arriving earlier in the year.
[Source: Tuscaloosa News, Automotive News - sub. req'd]