The automobile industry is currently undergoing radical change in two particular respects: on the one hand flexible production lines are transforming vehicle manufacturing with networked systems and intelligent robots, while on the other climate change is forcing a whole rethink of mobility. But are these developments really running in separate channels? We explain the links.
The goal is clear: emission-free mobility. To achieve this, Daimler is investing in a major way in carbon-neutral production and vehicle fleets. "Electric first" - the chosen route: by 2030 Mercedes-Benz Cars aims to sell more than half its vehicles with an electric drive system – to include both all-electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids.
However, the production switchover from combustion engine to electric drive is not going to happen overnight. First of all the infrastructure in the plants must be adapted to cope with the new requirements. The magic word in this context is flexibility. Agile production lines do not only make it possible to accommodate individual customer requirements in terms of equipment and appointments, but also to manufacture vehicles with different drive systems on the same line. Such agility is also important with respect to the installation of future battery generations. This is because major technological leaps in particular, which are not unusual during the early stages of development, can necessitate modification of the systems within a very short time period.
We visited Bremen for a closer look at how Daimler is managing the shift to electric mobility. Since 2019 the EQC has been integrated into regular production there, including the installation of the drive batteries supplied by the wholly owned Mercedes-Benz subsidiary Accumotive in Kamenz (read more).