Mercedes reveals global electric drive production strategy

Mercedes-Benz continues to realign its global production network towards electric vehicles as the world’s most valuable luxury car brand prepares to go fully electric by the end of the decade – wherever market conditions allow.

Mercedes-Benz has retooled its production setup for electric drive systems (batteries, electric drive units and axles) from 2024, following the realigned production setup for electric vehicles based on future vehicle architectures earlier this year. The new setup within the Mercedes-Benz powertrain production network was achieved following constructive discussions with German employee representatives, resulting in agreements to further increase flexibility and efficiency at the various locations, paving the way for securing the future of the plants. In line with the implementation of the Mercedes-Benz Business Plan, the company is investing a mid-single-digit billion euro amount in its European powertrain production locations.

The battery plants in Kamenz, Brühl (Untertürkheim) and Beijing (China) will produce batteries for the new models on the MMA and MB.EA platforms. The establishment of battery assembly at the Kölleda location, which is currently responsible for making conventional and hybridised engines, is also planned – subject to the support from the Thuringian state government. The state government has pledged corresponding support in a letter of intent, paving the way for the plant’s electric transformation process. The Untertürkheim, Sebes (Romania) and Beijing plants will produce electric drive units for the new models on the MMA and MB.EA platforms from 2024. As previously announced, the Untertürkheim plant will double its production capacity for electric drives to one million units. The Mercedes-Benz plants in Hamburg and Untertürkheim (Mettingen section) will remain the German lead plants for the assembly of electric axles and components, and will supply the production network of Mercedes-Benz body plants with next-generation systems. As announced last year, the Mercedes-Benz plant in Berlin will produce high-performance electric motors for the future AMG.EA platform from the middle of the decade.

Transformation to Electric Only

The Mercedes-Benz powertrain production network is in the middle of a process of transformation. Plug-in hybrids and fully electric vehicles are expected to account for around half of unit sales by as soon as 2025. Conventional drive units will therefore remain an important part of the Mercedes-Benz drive portfolio in the medium term. With increasing electrification, demand will shift towards e-mobility components, batteries and electric drive systems. The company’s sustainable realignment towards a purely electric product range necessitates extensive adjustments to structures and processes, and requires a high degree of flexibility – also in the powertrain production network. The basis for the transformation is a comprehensive training and retraining programme for the employees at the locations. With the launch of the new organisational unit Mercedes-Benz Drive Systems, the company reorganised its drive division back in 2020. With the organisational bundling of all Group-wide drive system expertise from the areas of development, production, purchasing, controlling, human resources, planning, logistics and quality under one roof, the company is consistently orienting its drive system division towards CO2-neutral mobility.

The Mercedes-Benz powertrain production network consists of 14 locations on three continents, providing drive systems, major assemblies and components for the entire Mercedes-Benz powertrain portfolio. It supplies the Mercedes-Benz body plants around the world. The planned battery recycling plant at the Kuppenheim location is also part of this network. Since this year, Mercedes-Benz has been producing on a CO2-neutral basis in all its own plants worldwide and purchasing electricity that comes exclusively from renewable sources. In addition, the company aims to increase the generation of renewable energy at its locations.

Blagojce Krivevski

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