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Mercedes-Benz Launches a US Energy Storage Company

We knew the Mercedes-Benz residential battery would be coming to the shores of America in early 2017. Now we know it will arrive with a whole new company.

Parent company Daimler AG has created Mercedes-Benz Energy Americas, LLC to sell stationary storage of all sizes to the U.S. market. Like Tesla, this is a car company that developed electric vehicles (EVs) and then put its battery expertise to work in a stationary storage product.

The Mercedes home batteries will also go head-to-head with fellow German emigrant Sonnen, a competition made all the more personal because Daimler hired Sonnen's former U.S. CEO, Boris von Bormann, to lead the effort. After three years of working on Sonnen's U.S. entrance, he's learned about the American appetite for storage and how to market to it, and now combines that experience with the resources and reputation of Mercedes-Benz.

Energy Americas will act as the U.S. counterpart to Germany's Mercedes-Benz Energy GmbH. Both companies develop and sell batteries made by Daimler's wholly owned subsidiary Deutsche Accumotive. This company has been manufacturing lithium-ion battery systems for Mercedes-Benz electric cars, so the batteries have seen rigorous testing and are built for much more intensive use than most stationary systems ever see.

Mercedes isn't just dipping its tires into the electric mobility craze. By 2025, the company wants to sell 10 or more EV models, and it's investing 1 billion euros in scaling its battery production capacity. The company has bigger ideas than just cars, too -- it's envisioning an "electric mobility ecosystem" including automation, ride-sharing and home improvements like battery storage and EV chargers.

The residential market will be an early focus for the fledgling U.S. enterprise. The metallic gray modular system looks like a home appliance, stacks from 2.5 kilowatt-hours up to 20 kilowatt-hours and comes with a 10-year warranty. That goes on sale the first quarter of next year, as will larger commercial packages. Mercedes is looking for channel partners to distribute and install the systems.

Mercedes will also pursue utility-scale projects, and already has a contract to build a 1-megawatt containerized storage system to provide frequency regulation and demand response in PJM territory.

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