Daimler has begun construction of a $540m major expansion of a battery production operated by one of its subsidiaries, Accumotive, in Kamenz, Germany – taking the automaker another step towards its ambitions in the sphere of electromobility.

The announcement comes just months after Daimler unveiled a prototype fully electric heavy truck, and within weeks of the agreement by Germany’s coalition government to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by between 80% and 95% by 2050.

The move is also in line with a resolution recently passed by Germany’s federal council calling for a ban on new conventional combustion engine cars by 2030, and the phasing in of zero-emission vehicles, powered electrically or conceivably by hydrogen and bio-methane.

The new facility in Kamenz, which lies about 50km from Dresden, will quadruple Accumotive’s total production and logistics area to around 80,000m2, and will make the facility one of the largest and most modern battery factories in Europe.

The new plant will also be constructed as a CO2-neutral factory, powered by a cogeneration unit and a photovoltaic system combined with stationary energy storage systems. Solar modules the size of two football fields will be installed on the rooftop, generating two megawatts.

“By 2025, our passenger car product portfolio will contain more than ten fully electric vehicles. At the same time, we are continuously pushing our plug-in-hybrid offensive and the introduction of 48-volt-systems,” said Prof. Thomas Weber, Daimler board member for group research and development.

“Highly efficient battery systems are an important aspect of our strategy. They are an integral part of the vehicle architecture and not a ready-made product. The development, production and integration of those complex systems into our vehicles is one of our core competences.”

The production of vehicle batteries at the Kamenz site began in 2012, and for a year the facility has now also been producing stationary energy storage units. The new production facility is planned to start operations in the middle of 2018.