With the scarce materials in the typical lithium-ion batteries driving up costs and causing supply irregularities, like many automakers, including luxury brands, Mercedes could resort to LFP batteries. The 2024 Mercedes EQA and 2025 Mercedes EQB could be among its models having these new batteries.
The scarcity and the resulting rising cost and supply shortage of Cobalt and Nickel have automakers rethinking their battery strategy. Citing Goldman Sachs, a report from CNBC in March 2021 said that the cost of Nickel would increase by 60%, while Cobalt’s cost would double. Moreover, using Nickel in batteries impacts the vehicle’s safety, as it is prone to fire.
Daimler CEO Ola Kallenius has said that the company is considering lithium-iron-phosphate batteries for entry-level models, Bloomberg reported on October 27, 2021. The company’s line-up includes entry-level electric SUVs, namely Mercedes EQA and Mercedes EQB.
Even in upper-class new EVs, the EQS and EQE, Mercedes has limited the usage of Cobalt. In the cathodes of the batteries of both models, the Cobalt content is less than 10%. In the EQS’ case, the company says that the Cobalt content is significantly lower compared to the previous battery generation.
In the press announcement of both EQS and EQE, Mercedes said that its “aim is to be able to dispense entirely with materials such as cobalt through the use of innovative post-lithium-ion technologies.” Lithium-iron-phosphate (LiFePo) cells chemistry isn’t good in travel range as lithium-nickel-manganese-cobalt (Li-NMC), but it helps lower the cost of batteries while increasing their life.
While the Mercedes EQA and EQB are slated to enter the second generation mid-decade, they should be called the ‘EQA SUV’ and ‘EQB SUV.’ This necessary change would adhere them to Mercedes’s new EQ nomenclature, which launched with the Mercedes EQS in 2020. More importantly, freeing up the original names would let Mercedes launch electric variants of the A-Class and B-Class when the market calls for them. An EV version to at least the Mercedes A-Class Sedan is in the pipeline, as per a L’argus report.