Mercedes partner Rock Tech has broken ground on its new lithium refining facility in Germany that will serve the premium German automaker.
Along with its incredibly extensive production shift toward electric vehicles, Mercedes-Benz is working to become battery independent. Securing the necessary raw materials, chiefly lithium, is crucial to that plan. In this effort, it has partnered with Canadian lithium extraction and refining giant Rock Tech, and the partnership’s first refining facility has entered construction.
According to Mercedes, the upcoming lithium hydroxide plant will begin supplying the automaker with critically needed lithium in 2026, along with a series of other production changes that are going on simultaneously. This includes countless industrial retrofitting projects that Mercedes is undertaking, primarily in Europe but also at its Chinese and North American production locations.
“For Mercedes-Benz, the shift towards electric mobility also means a change in our supply chains. Three goals are central to us: Sustainability, raw materials security, and localization of procurement,” says Markus Schäfer, Member of the Board of Management of Mercedes and Chief Technology Officer of Development & Procurement. “Today’s groundbreaking in Guben is, therefore, another milestone for Mercedes-Benz towards the sustainable production of state-of-the-art batteries. When it comes to our lithium supply here in Europe, Rock Tech will play a key role for Mercedes-Benz in the future.”
Only further complicating this incredible orchestration, Mercedes is part of the Automotive Cells Company joint venture alongside Stellantis and TotalEnergies, which is also establishing its first battery cell production site in Europe. The upcoming Rock Tech refinery will likely supply these three upcoming facilities, though Mercedes did not specify these production details.
Mercedes is in the lucky situation that it is not expected to produce a vast number of electric vehicles, at least not yet. Its current offerings, particularly the EQS and EQS SUV, are incredibly premium and expensive vehicles that will never be bought in huge numbers. Still, as the brand works its way down the price ladder as it has done with the EQB and EQC vehicles, these battery production projects will become ever more critical, especially in terms of battling scarcity and production costs.