Mercedes-Benz says its Rastatt plant will produce compact class EQ electric models.

The decision, it said, is "based on a declaration of intent, which the company has set up with the works council".

Together with sites in Bremen and Sindelfingen, all three German Mercedes-Benz car plants will produce electric vehicles of the product and technology brand EQ. "Our Mercedes-Benz car plants in Germany play a decisive role in electric mobility. They are centres of competence for the production of EVs in the global production network of Mercedes-Benz Cars. Thanks to highly flexible structures, we are able to integrate electric vehicles in the regular series production in our plants. At the same time, we are increasing our competitiveness with the efficient integration of Industry 4.0 applications. This allows us to benefit from the opportunities of electric mobility, while considerably reducing the required investment," says Markus Schäfer, member of the Divisional Board of Mercedes-Benz Cars, Production and Supply Chain.

Mercedes says future EQ models can be integrated in the series production of existing Mercedes-Benz plants on four continents. Which foreign locations will produce further EQ models within the production network will be decided on the basis of market demand.

The Mercedes-Benz plant in Rastatt is the lead plant in the global production compound for compact cars. Already in 2015, the plant management and works council reached an agreement for competitiveness and future development – the so called future plan and agreed to produce the next Mercedes-Benz compact car generation in Rastatt. "With the new declaration of intent, we are shaping our future, thereby creating good prospects for our workforce in the coming age of electric mobility. The Mercedes-Benz plant in Rastatt will be the centre of competence for the production of new compact EQ models. In the year of our 25th anniversary, this is great news for our highly motivated workforce," says Thomas Geier, site manager Mercedes-Benz Rastatt plant.

Building on the experience gained during the series production of electric vehicles at the location, the workforce is being prepared for the new models and further technological developments with comprehensive training programmes. The Mercedes-Benz Rastatt plant is running at high capacity utilisation, and currently creating the conditions for the production start of the next compact car generation in 2018. This means constructing two new body shops on the site, as well as a training centre. The new training centre is the central facility for training the plant's workforce, as well as for the employees in the worldwide compact car production compound.

"We are making a decisive step towards digitisation and new technologies. Having met all the requirements, the Rastatt team is ready for the challenges. Together with our ambitious colleagues, we as a works council want to help to shape the change in the automotive industry for electric mobility. We have laid the foundation for this," says Ullrich Zinnert, chairman of the Works Council at the Mercedes-Benz Rastatt plant.

Electric offensive at Mercedes-Benz Cars
With the Concept EQ, Mercedes-Benz Cars is presenting a new generation of electric vehicles. More than ten new electric passenger cars are scheduled to be launched by 2022: in all segments from smart to large SUVs. EUR10bn (US$11.1bn) will be invested in the expansion of the electric fleet in the next few years. The new electric vehicles will be produced within the global, highly flexible and efficient production network of Mercedes-Benz Cars with plants on four continents. The first EQ series model – the EQC – will roll off the line at the Mercedes-Benz plant in Bremen in the year 2019. In addition to that, luxury-class EQ models will be produced at the plant in Sindelfingen. The company assumes that the proportion of electric vehicles in the total unit sales of Mercedes-Benz will be between 15% and 25% by 2025. In addition to traction batteries, Accumotive will produce batteries for Mercedes-Benz energy storage units and 48-volt-systems. The pioneering 48-volt on-board power supply is celebrating its premiere in the new generation of the S-Class and will be gradually introduced in various model series.