Worldwide electric initiative. Mercedes-Benz is putting the first EQ model into series production

Production of the EQC (combined power consumption: 20,8 – 19,7 kWh/100 km; combined CO₂ emissions: 0 g/km)** is set to begin in 2019 at the Mercedes-Benz plant in Bremen. The new EQC as a fully electric vehicle will be highly flexibly integrated into ongoing series production. The high Mercedes-Benz production standards therefore ensure top quality across all vehicle models. In parallel with this, production of batteries for the EQC is coming on stream at the expanded battery plant in Kamenz (near Dresden).

Preparations for production of the EQC are in full swing at the Mercedes-Benz plant in Bremen: the electric vehicle will be produced on the same line as the C-Class Saloon and Estate, GLC and GLC Coupé. Mercedes-Benz Cars is systematically working on successful implementation of the electric initiative. Electric vehicles under the product and technology brand EQ will be integrated into the series production processes of the existing plants of Mercedes-Benz Cars. This is possible because the company made investments in maximum flexibility and hi-tech equipment at an early stage, offering trend-setting Industry 4.0 solutions.

EQC assembly: Innovative, flexible – and human-centred

The new EQC will be very flexibly produced on a common line with four other models. Digital solutions assist the assembly personnel. State-of-the-art data transmission and the very latest hardware solutions, grouped together under the heading of “paperless factory”, now replace paper documentation. Screens provide maximum transparency about the equipment specifications for each vehicle. Modern mobile devices such as tablets, mini PCs and smart PDAs support the employees at each step of the work process. Driverless transport systems (DTS) with shopping carts automatically and ergonomically ensure the smooth supply of parts and components to the personnel on the line.

Another example is the use of Big Data and artificial intelligence, e.g. for predictive maintenance. Through the analysis of existing production data by predictive maintenance, predictions of potential faults or due maintenance work can be made before the need actually arises.

The batteries for EQC production in Bremen are delivered from the Kamenz plant in a partially charged state, stored near the production line and flexibly delivered by driverless transport systems to the line as required.

Assembly personnel will continue to be essential in the future. With their many years of experience in the assembly of hybrid vehicles, the personnel in Bremen have a high level of expertise in high-voltage technology. This is the basis for production of fully electric vehicles.

A detailed look: The “double marriage”

When the body, suspension and powertrain come together in automobile assembly, this is referred to as the “marriage” - in the case of the EQC this is when the two electric powertrains are installed in the body. The Hamburg-based plant in the powertrain production network of Mercedes-Benz Cars supplies the rear axle and the front drive module in which the powertrains (electric motor, power electronics) including their carrying subframes are pre-installed ready for final assembly. The motor and the single-speed transmission share the same housing, which helps to simplify production and final assembly.

One major innovation is the so-called battery joining centre (second marriage). This is where the EQCs are recognised as electric models with the help of data tags attached to the body, and equipped with a battery. The body is suspended from a so-called C-carrier and deposited on a frame. Support arms raise the battery to the vehicle’s floor from below. An employee monitors the automatic bolting in place.

The extensive final inspection process includes a rain test and a simulated rough track. If required, the batteries of the EQCs are charged at the Mercedes-Benz charging stations newly installed at the Bremen plant before the vehicles are sent on their way to the dealerships.

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