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The new plant will enable Mercedes to challenge electric car maker Tesla.

The company has invested £431 million (approximately ₹3,137 crore) in a new lithium-ion battery factory in Kamenz, Germany. These batteries will help power the carmaker’s upcoming line-up of EQ-branded electric cars, along with its Smart Electric Drive models, new electric commercial vehicles and future hybrids.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel broke ground on the new facility. The ‘gigafactory’ marks the second stage in a larger €1 billion (approximately ₹7,277 crore) made by the Daimler group as it prepares to enter the electric car ranks in 2019. This plant will allow the car maker to compete with Tesla, which is nearing completion of its battery gigafactory in cooperation with Japanese electronics giant Panasonic in Nevada, USA. |

“The automotive industry is facing a fundamental transformation,” said Mercedes-Benz chairman Dieter Zetsche. “The battery factory in Kamenz is an important component in the implementation of our electric offensive. By 2022, we will have more than 10 purely electric passenger cars. We also continue to drive forward the hybridisation of our fleet. Under the EQ brand, we are creating a holistic ecosystem for e-mobility.”

The new battery facility is scheduled to start production in mid-2018. The facility covers an area of around 20 hectares, and this move will quadruple production and logistics of the company’s current operations. As well as producing batteries for future Mercedes-Benz electric cars, Accumotive (Daimler’s energy storage subsidiary) will also provide batteries for the company’s new 48-volt equipped models, starting with the facelifted S-class.

Mercedes-Benz expects electric cars will make up between 15 and 25 percent of its total sales by 2025.

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