Daimler subsidiary Accumotive has broken ground on its second lithium-ion battery factory in Kamenz, Germany. The facility represents an investment of about €500 million (about $560 million at today's exchange rates), and will support Mercedes-Benz's plans to introduce its EQ e-mobility sub-brand, introduce 10 new plug-in models by 2022, and continue to hybridize more of its vehicles.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Saxony Minister President Stanislaw Tillich joined Daimler Chairman Dieter Zetsche and other Daimler, Mercedes-Benz, and Accumotive executives in laying a battery casing as a foundation stone. "The automotive industry is facing a fundamental transformation and we see ourselves as the driving force behind this change," says Zetsche.

The factory itself is adjacent to the existing facility, and will cover an area of almost 50 acres. By 2020, Accumotive plans to double its workforce to more than 1,000 employees. The new plant is designed to be CO2-neutral and zero-net-energy, with help from a solar plant and stationary batteries for energy storage. It's expected to in operation around the middle of 2018.

Daimler's electric strategy goes beyond its plans for electrified passenger vehicles. Batteries from the Kamenz factory will also power commercial vehicles, including the Mercedes-Benz Vito and Sprinter vans. Daimler will also launch a third generation of the Fuso eCanter. Mercedes will also test the all-electric, heavy duty Urban eTruck. In addition to automotive use, Mercedes has also launched stationary energy storage for solar systems, and just began offering home batteries in the US through a partnership with Vivint Solar.

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