Gaggenau / Kassel / Mannheim – Following intensive talks, Daimler Truck AG and the Works Council have agreed on key points regarding the future orientation and safeguarding of the Mercedes-Benz powertrain plants. The three 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. Yaris Pürsün, Head of Global Powertrain Operations Daimler Truck: “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 centres 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.”
Michael Brecht, Chairman of Daimler AG’s General Works Council and Deputy Chairman of Daimler AG’s Supervisory Board: “Goods and commodities will continue to be transported by our commercial vehicles in the future, so that the economy and food supplies are secured. For this, we need pioneering new drive technologies in our products, produced in our plants. And we will continue to ensure this in the future through the agreed key points. For us, the mobility transformation therefore also means ensuring job security. We ensure this through new products, innovative technology and further development of our employees. We are actively shaping the transformation in the interests of our employees. At Daimler Truck, there will continue to be exciting and, above all, secure employment opportunities in the future.” Dr. Andreas Gorbach, Member of the Board of Management of Daimler Truck AG, responsible for Truck Technology: “We want to continue to offer our customers the best solutions in the future and contribute significantly to their business success. This includes our own development and production of important key technologies for zero-emission commercial vehicles. This is what Truck Technology stands for, differentiating components on a global scale. As the world’s biggest manufacturer of commercial vehicles, our products will make an important contribution to sustainable and zero-emission transportation. Our powertrain plants will make a major contribution to this.”
Mercedes-Benz plants in Gaggenau, Kassel and Mannheim expand their competencies
The Mercedes-Benz plant in Gaggenau, which specializes in heavy-duty commercial vehicle transmissions, will develop into a competence centre 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 Centre 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. “I am convinced that we will continue to expand our position as the world’s leading manufacturer of commercial vehicles with the production and technology network for electric drive components and battery systems and that we will jointly shape the future of the German sites with the key points agreement,” says Yaris Pürsün.
Another element of the technology network for electric drive components and battery systems are the so-called innovation laboratories (“InnoLabs”). In addition to the competence centres, 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. It is clear from the key points agreement that Daimler Truck will invest substantially in its locations and thus make a clear commitment to Germany as a business location. At the same time, sufficient flexibility agreements will be made in order to be able to optimally serve customer needs in the coming years. The agreement secures sustainable, alternative and economic employment.
Qualification and further development of the workforce
New processes and procedures are being introduced in the competence centres for the production of components for alternative drive systems. Key factors for high-quality and efficient production are the training and development of the workforce. The aim is to prepare employees for future tasks with a qualification offensive.
Focus on customer needs: Two all-electric drive technologies for every application
In its transformation toward CO2-neutral transportation, Daimler Truck is systematically 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.
Green factory: Production will also be CO2-neutral
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 unique 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.
Global production network: The focus on CO2-neutral technologies is being rolled out globally
The sister plant in Detroit, which is part of the global production network for powertrain components, will continue to strengthen its role in the American market and, as a competence centre for electric powertrain components, make an important contribution to shaping sustainable transportation in the American market. At the same time, we will realize economies of scale in the global production network.