Mercedes-Benz lays the foundation for a new competence center for battery technologies at the heart of its main factory in Stuttgart-Untertürkheim
Mercedes-Benz today laid the symbolic foundation for a new competence center for research and development of future generations of batteries and battery cells at a ceremony on the grounds of its main factory in Stuttgart-Untertürkheim. The so-called “Mercedes-Benz eCampus” will be phased in from 2023 and will initially house a factory for the small-scale production of battery cells. By the middle of the decade, the eCampus will be completed with a Battery Safety Lab and several test facilities for testing and testing new battery generations. Untertürkheim thus consolidates its role as a high-tech location for drive technologies as part of the Group’s “Electric Only” strategy. Investments of hundreds of millions in the construction and design of the eCampus support the future viability of this traditional, nearly 120-year-old site.
The ceremony was attended by: Ola Källenius, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Mercedes-Benz Group AG, Jörg Burzer, Member of the Board of Directors of Mercedes-Benz Group AG, responsible for Production & Supply Chain Management, Ida Wolf, Head of Human Resources Powertrain Mercedes-Benz AG and Michael Häberle, Vice-Chairman of the General Works Council of Mercedes-Benz Group AG and Chairman of the Works Council at the Mercedes-Benz Untertürkheim site. Mercedes-Benz also welcomed Winfried Kretschmann, Prime Minister of Baden-Württemberg, Frank Nopper, Mayor of Stuttgart, and Susanne Bay, District President of the Administrative District of Stuttgart, to the laying of the foundation stone.
Ola Källenius, Chairman of the Board of Management of Mercedes-Benz Group AG: “This groundbreaking ceremony symbolizes the future of our traditional Stuttgart-Untertürkheim location. A location that represents the success story of the car and Mercedes-Benz like no other. Together with our well-trained and motivated employees, we are shaping the transition to a new electrical era. Untertürkheim will continue to be the center of Mercedes-Benz’s drive expertise in the future.”
The battery is an important part of electric mobility and an integral part of vehicle architecture. The consolidation and expansion of research and development activities at the eCampus Untertürkheim plays a key role in Mercedes-Benz’s drive strategy. In the future, Mercedes-Benz will cover the entire field of battery technology at this location – from (basic) research to development and battery production.
Winfried Kretschmann, Prime Minister of Baden-Württemberg: “The heart of the electric car will soon arise here on the eCampus: the battery and the electric powertrain. This makes this location a symbol of the transformation of the automotive industry – from combustion engines to electric drives. The eCampus is therefore also a clear commitment of Mercedes-Benz to its staff and to Baden-Württemberg as a car location. It is a development that we want to shape in this country: with our highly innovative companies, with our excellent research facilities and with our strategy dialogue in the automotive industry, in which we have worked together for years on the major transformations. Also on the battery – because highly specialized batteries are a promising business model for our country. If electrification becomes one of the central pillars of the transport and energy transition, then modern storage technologies will become one of the key technologies of the future.”
dr. Frank Nopper, mayor of Stuttgart, the state capital: “Mercedes-Benz’s investment in the traditional factory here in the Neckar Valley is a clear commitment to Stuttgart as a location and therefore also a clear commitment to the future of our city as a car center. I am delighted with the construction of the new research and development center here in Untertürkheim. It marks an important milestone on the way to a new era.”
The Mercedes-Benz Untertürkheim plant is the largest site in the global production network of Mercedes-Benz powertrains and has several plant outbuildings in the Neckar Valley. With approximately 16,000 employees, the factory currently produces engines, batteries, axles, transmissions and components. The site is also home to much of the Group’s powertrain research and development, with approximately 3,000 employees and a test track for vehicle testing. In addition to battery systems, components of the electrical drive systems are already being developed and tested here today. Untertürkheim is also the location of the headquarters of Mercedes-Benz Group AG.
Ergun Lümali, deputy Chairman of the Supervisory Board and Chairman of the Works Council of Mercedes-Benz Group AG: “Laying the foundation for the eCampus and the associated investments in battery technology expansion is a clear commitment to the future viability of this traditional site. This is very good news for the employees of Untertürkheim and also for the region. The transformation to CO2-free drives must not lead to a reduction in added value. That is why it is all the more important that we also invest in our powertrain plants – especially at such an important location as Untertürkheim. As stakeholders, we want to define target images for the German locations for the years 2025 and 2030 for the goals set by the Executive Board. With the eCampus, we are closer to this goal for Untertürkheim.”
Michael Häberle, Vice-Chairman of the General Works Council of Mercedes-Benz Group AG Chairman of the Works Council at the Mercedes-Benz Untertürkheim site: “The eCampus is not only a success for the region, but above all for and thanks to the Untertürkheim workforce. The best job security is future-proofing products that we develop and produce ourselves. With today’s foundation stone laying, we are accelerating the expansion of electromobility and further preparing the site for the future. But that alone is not enough: we must continue on this path consistently and, in addition to what has been agreed so far, introduce further sustainable factors for Untertürkheim. In order to offer our colleagues long-term certainty and perspective, we need to bring the entire spectrum of electromobility to our location – and we are campaigning for this as the Works Council.”
The first battery factory of the site in the annex of the factory in Hedelfingen was already put into operation last year. The batteries for the fully electric Mercedes EQS and EQE models are currently being produced there. Another battery plant in the annex of the Brühl plant will soon start producing batteries for the new Mercedes-Benz plug-in hybrid generation in the SUV segment. Production and assembly of Electric Powertrain Components (eATS) for future Mercedes-EQ vehicle models will begin at the end of 2024, completing the plant’s electric product portfolio.
Jörg Burzer, Member of the Executive Board of Mercedes-Benz Group AG for Production and Supply Chain Management “Untertürkheim stands for driving. The close integration of research and development with on-site production has always been a successful concept and supports Stuttgart-Untertürkheim’s role in our global powertrain production network. By building on these core competencies in the transformation of Mercedes-Benz to electromobility, our driving strategy is given an extra boost. In terms of sustainability, we are also taking the next steps in Untertürkheim and are actively expanding renewable energy.”
Markus Schäfer, Member of the Executive Board of Mercedes-Benz Group AG, Chief Technology Officer, responsible for Development and Purchasing: “We have a clear ambition to become a global leader in electric vehicle development. The components developed at the Untertürkheim site will play a key role in this. Even today, we not only develop parts for our electric drives here, but we also research the cell chemistry of the future in our laboratories and test them until they reach production maturity. On the new eCampus, we will be able to consolidate our extensive development expertise across the entire spectrum of electric drives even more effectively in the future.”
Transformation of the Untertürkheim site will lead to changes in tasks and employment profiles in the medium term. The company supports its employees with various measures. The focus is mainly on targeted training in the field of electromobility and digitization. In the past two years alone, Mercedes-Benz has trained approximately 42,000 colleagues in all aspects of electromobility at the MB Tech Academies in Germany. At the Untertürkheim location, we are currently starting a pilot project to retrain production employees to become data specialists. The reduction in the volume of series production of conventional drive systems will also lead to personnel changes at the Untertürkheim site. The top priority is to make the structural and personnel adjustments to the affected jobs as socially acceptable as possible.
Sabine Kohleisen, Member of the Executive Board of Mercedes-Benz Group AG, Human Resources and Labor Director “The continuous training of our employees is crucial for the successful transformation of Mercedes-Benz. We are working on this together as a team. Transformation means change. It needs the willingness of each individual to change and learn. The openness and motivation of the colleagues here at the Untertürkheim site to be part of this transformation is very gratifying.”
Frank Deiß, Chairman Mercedes-Benz Drive Systems, Head of Production Drivetrain Mercedes-Benz Cars and Plant Manager, Mercedes-Benz Untertürkheim “The future of our site lies in a holistic concept of innovative research and development, future-proof products for our factory and an efficient, digitized and sustainable business strategy. Untertürkheim will continue to power Mercedes-Benz in the truest sense of the word in the electric age. My special thanks go to my colleagues in Untertürkheim, who, with great flexibility and commitment, help shape and support the transformation of the site.”
The new Mercedes-Benz eCampus covers an area of several football fields (>30,000 m²) and follows a holistic construction concept that meets Mercedes-Benz sustainability standards. Conserving resources and reducing energy consumption are the main pillars in this regard. About 60% of the roof area is equipped with photovoltaic systems that supply the production shop with green energy as part of the Mercedes-Benz program for the expansion of renewable energy sources. The entire roof surface will be greened. Just like in Factory 56 in Sindelfingen, recycled concrete from demolition material is used in the facade. The use of reversible heat pumps and accumulators ensures a sustainable heat supply and air conditioning for the production hall. Hybrid cooling towers will increase water supply efficiency. Since this year, Mercedes-Benz has been producing CO2 neutrally in all its own factories worldwide and has also been purchasing electricity from renewable sources in Germany since this year. In addition, the company aims to increase renewable energy generation at its locations in general.