Mercedes-Benz yesterday laid the symbolic foundation for a new centre of competence for the research and development of future generations of batteries and battery cells at a ceremony on the site of its main plant in Stuttgart-Untertürkheim.

The so-called “Mercedes-Benz eCampus” will gradually start operations from 2023 onwards, and will initially house, among other activities, a factory for the small-scale production of battery cells.  

The luxury carmaker, whose previous CEO deemed producing battery cells in-house too costly, has taken a strategic turn under chief executive Ola Kallenius towards aiming for more control over its battery supply chain.

The new Mercedes-Benz eCampus covers an area of several football pitches (>30,000 sq. m.) and follows a holistic building concept that meets Mercedes-Benz’s sustainability standards. The conservation of resources and the reduction of energy consumption form the main pillars of this. Around 60% of the roof area is equipped with photovoltaic systems which supply the production shop with green energy as part of the Mercedes-Benz programme for the expansion of renewable energies.

The entire roof area will be greened. As in Factory 56 in Sindelfingen, recycled concrete made from demolition material will be used in the façade. The use of reversible heat pumps and accumulators will ensure a sustainable heat supply and air conditioning for the production shop. Hybrid cooling towers will increase the efficiency of the water supply. Mercedes-Benz has been producing on a CO2-neutral basis in all of its own worldwide plants since this year and has also purchased electricity in Germany exclusively from renewable sources since this year. In addition, the company aims to generally increase the generation of renewable energy at its locations.

Ola Källenius, Chairman of the Board of Management of Mercedes-Benz Group AG during the event said, “This groundbreaking ceremony symbolises the future of our traditional location in Stuttgart-Untertürkheim. A location that – like no other – stands for the success story of the automobile and Mercedes-Benz. Together with our highly trained and motivated workforce, we are shaping the transition into a new electric era. Untertürkheim will continue to be the centre of Mercedes-Benz drive expertise in the future.”

Winfried Kretschmann, Minister-President of Baden-Württemberg in a statement said, “Here on the eCampus, the heart of the electric car will soon emerge: 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 thus also a clear commitment by Mercedes-Benz to its workforce and to Baden-Württemberg as an automotive location. It´s a development we want to shape in this country: with our highly innovative companies, our excellent research facilities and with our strategy dialogue in the automotive industry, in which we have been working together for years on the major transformations. Also to 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 said “Mercedes-Benz’s investment in the traditional plant here in the Neckar Valley is a clear commitment to Stuttgart as a location and thus also a clear commitment to the future of our city as a centre of the automobile. I am delighted with the construction of the new research and development centre here in Untertürkheim. It marks an important milestone on the way to a new era.”