It’s not a big leap from digital maps to batteries, it turns out.The head of Mercedes-Benz parent Daimler said recently that he envisions his company working together with German automotive competitors BMW and Volkswagen to further accelerate electric-vehicle battery technology. The three automakers recently worked together to enhance their in-car maps systems.
Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche talked about “commonalities” between automakers, not the least of which is the need for all of them to achieve increasingly stringent fuel-economy requirements in the European Union, at the Frankfurt Auto Show last week, according to Reuters. While these companies have made their own inroads as far as plug-in vehicles go, they are all behind the Renault-Nissan Alliance when it comes to public deployment of electric vehicles.
This summer, Daimler, Audi and BMW hooked up to acquire the Nokia Here digital-mapping service for about $2.8 billion. The triad of automakers beat out companies such as Apple and Uber to buy the entity, which was founded in 1986 as Navteq. Nokia bought the company in 2007. The acquisition makes sense as the automakers work on improving their products with features like cloud-based data to warn drivers of icy roads and traffic jams. The technology will likely also eventually be used in autonomous vehicles.
Automakers working together for a common goal of improved technology is nothing new, of course. General Motors and Honda agreed in 2013 to work together to accelerate hydrogen fuel-cell drivetrain development. Earlier that same year, Daimler said it would work with Ford and Nissan in a separate collaboration to speed up the development of hydrogen fuel-cell technology.
Mercedes could make EV batteries with Audi, BMW