Image courtesy of Vivint.Solar

Mercedes-Benz has announced that it will stop manufacturing residential batteries and dissolve its U.S. energy subsidiary, reports Greentech Media writer Julian Spector. The company got into the residential energy market in 2016, and many thought the company's product would be a competitor to the Tesla Powerwall.

When it first came on to the scene, Mercedes-Benz promised to leverage its considerable brand recognition, global scale and manufacturing supply chain to take the young market by storm. It quickly allied with Vivint, the top-three rooftop solar installer, to reach its customers. It even nabbed CEO Boris von Bormann from fellow German home storage company sonnen’s U.S. outfit. A year and a half later, von Bormann is out, plans to enter the U.S. commercial and utility-scale markets never materialized, and global manufacturing of Mercedes-Benz branded residential batteries will cease.

Mercedes-Benz exited because its batteries, stress-tested for the work of propelling vehicles through the streets, proved too expensive to compete for the sedentary role of sitting in someone's house. That's an argument that standalone energy storage companies have made for years. Car batteries need extremely high energy density capable of rapid-fire discharge; that drives the choice of certain lithium-ion chemistries, like nickel-manganese-cobalt. Stationary systems can prioritize cycle life and safety, which is why companies like sonnen and Simpliphi tout their lithium-ferrous-phosphate chemistries.

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