In another sign of the evolution of the electric vehicle business, Mercedes-Benz announced plans to double production in Germany of electric drive units for Mercedes-EQ vehicles starting in 2024.
The plan is to realign the company’s global production network toward electric vehicles as it prepares for the shift to a fully electric portfolio by the end of the decade — wherever market conditions allow.
Key plant re-tooled for EVs
Mercedes’ executives said the company’s Stuttgart-Untertürkheim manufacturing complex, one of the company’s most historic production sites, will have a significant role in the transition from conventional internal combustion engines to EVs.
In addition to conventional drive units and components, Untertürkheim already is responsible for the assembly of batteries and axles for plug-in hybrids and fully electric Mercedes-EQ models.
Frank Deiz, chairman, Mercedes-Benz Drive Systems, and plant manager, Mercedes-Benz Untertürkheim, noted, “The transformation of the Untertürkheim location is progressing with great strides.
“With highly efficient drive units and batteries, we are making the Untertürkheim plant fit for the future. In future, we will be able to supply e-drives for one million Mercedes-EQ vehicles to our vehicle plants,” he noted, adding ramp-up will begin in 2024.
With the launch of the Mercedes-Benz eCampus in Stuttgart a few months ago, the passed another milestone in its transformation. The production and assembly of electric drive units from 2024 onwards at the Mercedes-Benz eCampus, which encompasses the Untertürkheim site, was part of the vision for the plant’s future.
Agreement with workers critical
Mercedes and union representatives also have agreed on the significant expansion of production capacities for electric drive units as part of the new labor agreement.
The previously planned capacities will be doubled under the agreement with the ramp up beginning by 2024 with the capacity for building 1 million electric drive units for vehicles built on Mercedes Modular Architecture platform.
“Untertürkheim will continue to drive Mercedes-Benz in the truest sense of the word, also in the electric era,” said Jörg Burzer, member of the Mercedes-Benz Group’s board of management responsible for Production and Supply Chain Management.
“With production volumes for our new Mercedes-EQ models, we are making our traditional location in the Neckar Valley fit for the future and continuing its success story. One million electric drive units: We are reinforcing Stuttgart-Untertürkheim’s importance within our global powertrain production network and thus also the role of our highly competent colleagues.”
The electric drive unit for the new models is being developed in-house at Mercedes-Benz.
Construction of the new assembly lines on the site of the Untertürkheim plant, as well as the Bad Cannstatt plant, will begin next year.
In the future, Untertürkheim and the Hedelfingen and Mettingen annexes will manufacture and supply parts of the electric drive unit.
“With our battery factories, eCampus and electric drive units and axles, we have laid the foundation for our location not only to participate in the transformation of the company, but to be an essential part of it,” according to Michael Häberle, chairman of the Works Council at the Untertürkheim location, which is dominated by IG Metall, the German metal workers union.