Mercedes-Benz finds a new battery supplier after breaking up with Tesla

The American EV manufacturer previously supplied Mercedes with battery and powertrain tech for one model, but that's no longer the case.

2014 Mercedes-Benz B-class Electric Drive

Once upon a time, Tesla batteries and components made up the underpinnings of the B-Class Electric Drive.

Wayne Cunningham/CNET

Up until last year, Tesla supplied components and batteries for Mercedes-Benz's B-Class Electric Drive. But the two companies severed that part of their relationship, and Mercedes set out to find a new supplier. Now, it's found one -- and it's a serious contender.

The Korea Times reports that the Teutonic automaker has signed a deal with battery manufacturer SK Innovation that would see the Korean company's battery cells installed in the next generation of Mercedes-Benz electric vehicles. "With our battery cells, the German premium carmaker plans to expand its clean-energy EV lineup in full scale," an SK Innovation official told The Korea Times.

Mercedes-Benz did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

SK Innovation competes with Samsung SDI and LG Chem for automaker contracts, and Mercedes-Benz is a big one. The company plans to add several new plug-in hybrid models in the coming years, and it's likely there will be at least one full EV thrown into the mix, as well. SK Innovation doubled its production last year in an effort to meet growing demand, and demand is what Mercedes will bring to the table. Along with, you know, money.

Even if Tesla's batteries will no longer end up in Mercedes' hands, the electric-car manufacturer is looking to expand its battery production in leaps and bounds with its Gigafactory in Nevada, which is nearing full operation. Daimler, Mercedes' parent company, previously owned 9.1 percent of Tesla, but it finished selling off those shares in 2014.

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