Mercedes plant to make batteries, electric motors after 113 years of engines


Mercedes-Benz EQ electric car concept  [photo: Axel Harries]

Mercedes-Benz EQ electric car concept [photo: Axel Harries]

Enlarge Photo

The first vehicle in history considered to be an automobile was the Benz Motorwagen of 1885.

It was also the first vehicle from an automaker that has been around for the duration of the industry: we know it today as Mercedes-Benz.

In other words, the company has been building cars for 132 years.

DON'T MISS: Mercedes to launch 10 electric cars by 2025 under EQ sub-brand

And engines for those cars have come from its the German luxury car maker's Untertürkheim production facility for 113 years.

Now, after more than a century of internal-combustion engines, that historic plant is undergoing a seismic change: it will now build batteries for electric cars as well as engines.

Mercedes-Benz says the battery production will increase the plant's efficiency and flexibility. The plant's operations may be focused on one area over another, should it be deemed necessary.

Mercedes-Benz EQ electric car concept [photo: Axel Harries]

Mercedes-Benz EQ electric car concept [photo: Axel Harries]

Enlarge Photo

Looking ahead, Mercedes-Benz says the Untertürkheim facility will eventually be a major supplier to the Sindelfingen passenger-car plant.

There, the brand's EQ line of electric cars will be built, for which Untertürkheim will supply the battery packs.

The luxury marque has said it will launch 10 electric cars under the EQ badge by the year 2025.

READ THIS: Mercedes-Benz electric cars to arrive sooner as urgency increases

This rapid product development comes because Mercedes-Benz believes the urgency for electric cars is growing. Some of the new electric vehicles are now scheduled to arrive by 2022, earlier than first planned.

At the same time, diesel-powered cars remain under scrutiny in Europe and more stringent emission regulations and enforcement makes that fuel less attractive.

In addition to the battery packs, the Untertürkheim plant will also build electric motors for front and rear axles.

Flat lithium-ion battery back for next-generation Mercedes-Benz electric cars

Flat lithium-ion battery back for next-generation Mercedes-Benz electric cars

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Both new components will add 250 new jobs at the plant.

However, Mercedes has reiterated that conventional axles and powertrains will still be produced there as well for some time to come.

With its 10 new electric cars, the German luxury brand expects electric cars to account for 15 to 25 percent of its total unit sales by 2025.

CHECK OUT: New engine development at German makers to end by 2025, says supplier

And as electric cars begin to take a significant share of the market, it's predicted Mercedes-Benz, and other German automakers, could cease new engine development as soon as 2025.

One analyst from a prominent industry supplier has suggested that investments in internal-combustion engines will begin to taper off in 2023.

Mercedes-Benz Urban eTruck concept, 2016 IAA Commercial Vehicles

Mercedes-Benz Urban eTruck concept, 2016 IAA Commercial Vehicles

Enlarge Photo

Skepticism remains over the notion that all-electric cars will deploy so quickly.

But to meet tightening limits on carbon emissions from vehicles, automakers are also working to squeeze every ounce of efficiency from traditional internal-combustion engines.

That often means various types of hybrid systems with their own electric motors, another sign electrification on powertrains is not a passing fad.

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