Mercedes-Benz has confirmed that it Untertürkheim powertrain facility will add electrified powertrain components, including batteries.
Battery production is to be added as a new product group and more than 250 new jobs will be created in the e-mobility production area after an agreement signed by Mercedes management and the plant’s works council.
Mercedes said the agreement paves the way for a successive transition from the production of conventional engines, transmissions and axles to the future powertrain components for electric vehicles. This includes a new battery production at the site and the assembly of electric modules for front and rear axles. This, Mercedes said, makes the Untertürkheim plant a competence centre for the integration of the entire electric powertrain into production.
“With this further development, Untertürkheim will continue to be the lead plant in the global powertrain production network.”
“In the global production network of Mercedes-Benz Cars, we are actively shaping the future and showing that we can do both: sprint and marathon. In the coming years, we plan to produce a rising number of powertrains for conventional and hybrid vehicles. At the same time, we are creating competitive conditions in our plants with regard to electric mobility. With this further development, Untertürkheim will continue to be the lead plant in the global powertrain production network,” said Markus Schäfer, Member of the Divisional Board of Mercedes-Benz Cars, Production and Supply Chain.
In order to ensure competitiveness, the company agreement reached between the plant’s management and works council includes measures to enhance flexibility and efficiency. This refers for example to the optimisation of the plant’s operating time as well as to variable shift models and flexible workforce deployment.
“After intensive discussions with the works council, we have reached an agreement that places the Untertürkheim plant on a competitive basis. At the same time, we are moving forward in the direction of electric mobility. This is excellent news for the employees and the region. In the future, products from our plant will be in every electric vehicle from Mercedes-Benz. The transformation of the Untertürkheim plant in the Neckar Valley with its long tradition has thus been initiated,” said Frank Deiß, Site Manager Mercedes-Benz Untertürkheim Plant and Head of Production Powertrain Mercedes-Benz Cars.
Mercedes said that in the future, for example, the passenger car plant in Sindelfingen will be supplied with batteries for electric vehicles of the EQ product and technology brand from Untertürkheim.
This means that Daimler is now planning the fourth battery factory in its global battery production network, after the two plants in Kamenz and one in Beijing. Battery production in Untertürkheim will be located in the Brühl section of the plant.
The plant’s management and works council have also agreed that powertrain modules for electric vehicles from the compact to the upper and luxury class of the EQ product and technology brand will be assembled in Untertürkheim. Increasing numbers of conventional axles will still to be produced, Mercedes said. Untertürkheim will continue to benefit from its existing expertise in lightweight construction for axles and structural components used in vehicles with combustion engines as well as in electric vehicles.
In order to pool expertise in the field of battery-electric vehicles, Untertürkheim will set up a “project house eATS” in order to develop additional know-how for the next generation of an electric drive system (eATS).
Mercedes e-vehicles projected at 15-25% of total volume by 2025
By 2025, Mercedes says that ‘fully electric vehicles are to account for between 15 and 25 percent of the total unit sales of Mercedes-Benz’. Currently, the Untertürkheim plant is operating at full capacity and Mercedes anticipates ongoing growth in the production of conventional engines, transmissions, axles and components ‘in the foreseeable future’.