Following intensive talks, Daimler Truck AG and the Works Council have agreed that the three powertrain sites in Gaggenau, Kassel and Mannheim will specialize in different components for electrified drives.
In the future, they will drive the global production of battery-electric and hydrogen-based drive systems in a production and technology network for electric drive components and battery systems, together with the sister plant in Detroit. Significant additional investments in future technologies at the Daimler Truck powertrain plants will drive technological change.
The Mercedes-Benz plant in Gaggenau, which specializes in heavy-duty commercial vehicle transmissions, will develop into a competence center for electric drive components as well as the assembly of hydrogen-based fuel cell drive components.
The Mercedes-Benz plant in Kassel is expanding its current focus on commercial vehicle axles and will become a competence centre for electric drive systems.
The Mercedes-Benz plant in Mannheim, specialized in commercial verhicle engines, is drawing on the more than 25 years of experience of the Competence Center for Emission-free Mobility (KEM) located at the plant and is focusing on battery technologies and high-voltage-systems.
Important scopes for alternative drives, such as the production of electrically driven axle systems, e-motors and inverters, as well as the assembly of fuel cell systems, will be integrated into the powertrain plants in the future, in addition to investments in the reprocessing and recycling of battery systems.
Our industry is undergoing a transformation toward CO2-neutral trucks. Since conventional drive systems will also be with us for some years to come, we are focusing the future orientation of our powertrain plants primarily on flexibility, cost-effectiveness and very well-trained employees. This had to be reconciled in our negotiations with the Works Council. With the production and technology network for electric drive components and battery systems in conjunction with the competence centers at the plants, we have succeeded in doing so. In this way, we are creating optimum conditions for maximum competitiveness for our plants and at the same time laying the foundations for a successful future.—Yaris Pürsün, Head of Global Powertrain Operations Daimler Truck
Another element of the technology network for electric drive components and battery systems are the innovation laboratories (InnoLabs). In addition to the competence centers, these are being set up at all plants. They specialize in innovative production processes, new technologies and products.
The aim of the InnoLabs is to close the gap between prototype production and series development. Series start-ups are thus to be prepared with maximum efficiency so that products can be transferred from the prototype phase to series production as quickly as possible. With the InnoLab Battery located at the Mercedes-Benz plant in Mannheim, Daimler Truck AG will establish its own pilot battery cell production and thus lay an important foundation stone for future competence in battery technology.
In its transformation toward CO2-neutral transportation, Daimler Truck is focusing on two all-electric drive technologies: battery and hydrogen-based fuel cell. With these, every customer application can be covered with full flexibility in terms of routes—from well-plannable, urban distribution transport to multi-day transports that are difficult to plan. Which solution is used by the customer depends on the specific application.
As the first battery-electric truck, the Mercedes-Benz eActros for routes in distribution transport will go into series production at the Mercedes-Benz plant in Wörth in October 2021, followed by the eEconic next year. The battery-electric eActros LongHaul for long-distance transport will follow from the middle of the decade. Key components be manufactured at the powertrain plants in the future.
In addition to the products, the powertrain plants are to become CO2-neutral from 2022, just like all other European Daimler Truck plants. This will be made possible, among other things, by a green power concept at Daimler: CO2-free power procurement from renewable energy sources will form the basis for CO2-neutral production. As part of this, the sites will purchase electricity from wind and solar farms as well as hydropower plants from 2022 onwards. On the way to becoming green production sites, the Mercedes-Benz powertrain plants are also to operate CO2-free in the long term by successively establishing fully renewable energy systems over the next few years.
The sister plant in Detroit, which is part of the global production network for powertrain components, will continue to strengthen its role in the US market and, as a competence center for electric powertrain components, make an important contribution to shaping sustainable transportation in the American market.