Mercedes-Benz will build the fourth battery production factory in its global network—after the two plants in Kamenz and one in Beijing—at its Untertürkheim plant in Germany. As part of a transformation plan introduced in 2015, Untertürkheim—the lead plant in the global powertrain production and the home of Daimler headquarters—is successively transitioning from the production of conventional engines, transmissions and axles to production of the future powertrain components for electric vehicles. This now includes new battery production at the site and the assembly of electric modules for front and rear axles.
The Untertürkheim plant—founded in 1904—will become a competence center for the production of the entire electric powertrain.
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.—Markus Schäfer, Member of the Divisional Board of Mercedes-Benz Cars, Production and Supply Chain
The agreement reached between plant management and works council includes measures to enhance flexibility and efficiency. This refers for example to the optimization of the plant’s operating time as well as to variable shift models and flexible workforce deployment.
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.—Frank Deiß, Site Manager Mercedes-Benz Untertürkheim Plant and Head of Production Powertrain Mercedes-Benz Cars
The establishment of flexible battery production will bring a new product to the Untertürkheim plant. In the future, the passenger car plant in Sindelfingen will be supplied with batteries for the EQ brand vehicles from Untertürkheim. 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.
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). This will lead to closer interaction between development and production, the company said.
The “E-Technikum” at the Mettingen section of the plant that was agreed upon in the first stage of negotiations will be further developed and significantly expanded to become a competence center in which electric-drive prototypes will be built. In this way, the plant is ensuring important know-how as a ramp-up factory, in particular for battery production as well as for the integration of future key technologies in production.
The current agreement is based on the transformation plan from 2015 and defines further steps of development. This still includes the production of increasing numbers of conventional combustion engines and of plug-in hybrid systems.
The Untertürkheim plant has also been responsible for the assembly of fuel-cell systems. With the new agreement, stack production for the fuel-cell is added in Untertürkheim to fuel cell system assembly. As agreed upon in the 2015 transformation plan, several billion euros will further be invested into the future development of the Untertürkheim site in the next years.
Mercedes-Benz expects fully electric vehicles are to account for between 15 and 25 percent of the total unit sales of Mercedes-Benz by 2025. At the moment, the Untertürkheim plant is operating at full capacity. The company anticipates ongoing growth in the production of conventional engines, transmissions, axles and components in the foreseeable future.
The Mercedes-Benz plant in Untertürkheim is one of Daimler AG’s oldest plants. With more than 19,000 employees, the plant produces engines, axles, transmissions and components. The site comprises six facilities which are all located in the Neckar Valley next to Stuttgart. While Untertürkheim and Bad Cannstatt produce engines and also host forging activities, the transmissions are produced in Hedelfingen. The axle production and the foundry are located in Mettingen. The training center is based in Brühl, the flexible production facilities are in Esslingen.