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Daimler opens $172M R&D center in Beijing

Daimler officially started operations of its new “R&D Tech Center China” in Beijing. With an investment of 1.1 billion RMB (US$172 million), the company is further strengthening its R&D footprint and technological capabilities in the world’s biggest car market. The fully-fledged R&D center focuses on major technological trends, tailor-made innovation and significantly accelerating Daimler’s local product development.

Mercedes Benz will go from “electric first” to “electric only”. This requires accelerating our R&D efforts, additional investments into battery electric vehicles, and advancing our EV portfolio plan. When it comes to digitization, artificial intelligence, autonomous driving, cutting-edge computing, our R&D team in China plays an increasingly important role for us. This goes for technology development, but also for technology sourcing, especially with regard to New Energy Vehicles (NEVs).

—Markus Schäfer, Member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG and Mercedes-Benz AG; responsible for Daimler Group Research and Mercedes-Benz Cars COO

For the first time in China, Daimler is bundling different disciplines such as research, engineering, simulation and testing under one roof. Around 1,000 engineers will benefit from intensive exchange and expertise sharing. The new R&D Tech Center China has a gross floor area of 55,000 m2 and integrates an office building as well as a test building with state-of-the-art testing facilities, a workshop, a warehouse and testing-car parking lots.

At the core of the campus are its inspection, testing and validation facilities for hardware and software, which integrate all essential functions. The proximity of engineering and testing will help to speed up processes significantly, the company said.

The test building is home to seven testing facilities including an eDrive lab, a charging lab, a volatile organic compounds (VOC) lab, a chassis lab, a noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) lab, an engine lab as well as an environmental lab. The new test building can accommodate more than 300 test vehicles at the same time.

Mercedes-Benz testing requirements are extremely diverse to ensure Mercedes typical vehicle characters and quality, such as ride and handling, noise comfort or durability. The new test building ensures consistency and reproducibility of testing processes throughout the year and in line with global Mercedes-Benz standards. Two examples:

  • Testing of next-generation electric cars under the most realistic conditions. The eDrive lab is equipped with two test chambers that can simulate a temperature range of -30 ˚C to +50 ˚C. The two sets of 4-wheel dynamometers can test whole electric vehicles, components or real battery pack tests. By adjusting the roller force and using big data applications, the intelligent test bench can simulate real driving conditions such as air resistance or different topographies.

    This allows comprehensive testing of next-generation electric vehicles at an early stage, under extreme conditions and throughout the year. The new eDrive lab also sets benchmarks in terms of sustainability and energy conservation: It is able to recuperate the energy of the tested vehicle back into the electric grid, which reduces the overall energy consumption significantly.

  • Aiming for superior comfort and durability in the electric age. Excellent comfort, durability as well as ride & handling are key characteristics for every Mercedes-Benz. Mastering all disciplines of chassis development becomes even more decisive in the age of electric vehicles. The developers are equally meticulous in their approach to compensate for inner forces and stresses caused by the extra weight of the battery or an elevated driving performance.

    The Tech Center China’s new chassis lab is equipped with a state-of-the-art road simulator that can simulate extremely rough road conditions. It allows 100% comparable results with other locations within the global R&D network. Based on this, the engineers in the new “R&D Tech Center China” can optimize comfort and durability for localized carlines, in particular for electric vehicles.

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