2009 Mercedes Benz ML450 Hybrid Production Threatened by Supplier

GM isn’t the only company feeling threatened by the shaky footing of battery supplier Cobasys.; Mercedes-Benz may be forced to cancel the ML450 hybrid SUV due to recent fiscal hiccups at Cobasys.

The ML450 Hybrid, scheduled for a late 2008 launch, is designed to use nickel-metal hydride (NiMH) batteries supplied by Cobasys, a contract reportedly worth $6 million.; The supplier, however, is unable to supply Mercedes with any battery packs.

The issue stems from Cobasys’s finances.; The company, a joint venture between oil company Chevron and Energy Conversion Devices, lost close to $76 million in 2007, and may lose a similar amount in 2008.

Both sides have been feuding over funding the venture. As previously reported, Chevron has accused ECD of failing to fund their share of Cobasys, and is actively looking to sell the battery venture to another party.

At one time, that party looked to be GM, but the automaker hasn’t yet made a move on Cobasys.; In the meantime, Mercedes is unable to produce the ML450 Hybrid according to schedule, and is looking (via litigation) to force Cobasys to manufacture the battery packs.

Source: Information Week