Mercedes-Benz subsidiary YASA names Juergen Banken as CEO, plans new UK R&D centre

September 28, 2022

Juergen Banken has been named CEO of YASA (Courtesy YASA)
Juergen Banken has been named CEO of YASA (Courtesy YASA)

YASA Ltd, a wholly owned subsidiary of Mercedes-Benz AG, headquartered in Oxford, UK, has announced that Juergen Banken will be its new CEO, succeeding Dr Chris Harris.

YASA’s proprietary axial-flux electric motors are reported to deliver the greatest efficiencies and highest power densities in their class, for the smallest possible size and weight. The axial-flux motors contain a number of pressed stator cores, manufactured from soft magnetic composite iron powder, and are suitable for both hybrid and pure electric vehicle applications.

Banken has held a number of leadership positions at Mercedes-Benz over the last twenty-six years, most recently as Senior Manager, Development of Integrated Electric Drives. He has a master’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from Aachen University and has over fifteen years experience in developing and bringing electric vehicles to market.

Since 2016, Banken has been responsible for delivering Mercedes-Benz electric propulsion systems, including the EQS from concept to delivery of its electric drive unit. He is said to join YASA at a time of accelerated growth and will focus on delivering electric-drive solutions for AMG & Mercedes’ electric-only platforms and the subsidiary’s supercar OEM customers.

“I’m excited to relocate to Oxford, a city with a great heritage in academia and automotive engineering, and to lead the innovative and dynamic YASA team. YASA’s next-generation electric motor technology is pivotal to Mercedes-Benz’s transition to all-electric models by 2030,” stated Banken. “YASA’s distinctive culture of innovation and commitment to engineering excellence is directly aligned with my own and I look forward to helping the team deliver on their ground-breaking roadmap. I’d like to thank Dr Chris Harris for his support during the CEO transition and for his stellar contribution to YASA’s success.”

Dr Chris Harris joined YASA in 2012 and scaled the company from twenty employees to 300, raising investment and winning OEM series production contracts, before leading the acquisition of the company by Mercedes-Benz in 2021. Harris is stepping down as CEO to pursue other entrepreneurial ventures, and takes up a new role as a Non-Executive Director at YASA.

Markus Schäfer, Member of the Board of Management of Mercedes-Benz Group AG and Chief Technology Officer responsible for Development and Procurement stated, “On Mercedes-Benz’s journey to ‘electric only’, YASA is an important cornerstone for our leading electric drive technology. With Juergen Banken, we will have a very experienced executive leading the team who will take YASA’s development forward, ensuring that their axial-flux electric motors play a key part in our future high performance EV product portfolio. Chris has been key to YASA’s development and we would like to thank him warmly for all his achievements, especially his role in supporting YASA’s successful transition to becoming a fully-integrated subsidiary of Mercedes-Benz.”

In July YASA announced plans to open a research and development centre in Welshpool, Wales, UK. With a £1.98 million investment from the Welsh government, the company will expand its current location at Offa’s Dyke Business Park and create up to forty new jobs.

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