Mercedes-Benz to manufacture axial-flux electric motors at Berlin site

November 19, 2021

An expanded view of the YASA’s axial-flux electric motor which will be assembled at Mercedes-Benz’s Berlin site (Courtesy Daimler)

Mercedes-Benz has announced it will build ultra-high-performance axial-flux electric motors at its Berlin site, as the company prepares to go fully electric by 2030. With the transformation of the Berlin site, Mercedes-Benz will bring the manufacture of a number of electric drive components in-house, expanding its portfolio of products which will include the assembly of YASA high-performance electric motors.

Mercedes-Benz announced the acquisition of YASA, a British-based manufacturer of ultra-high-performance electric motors in July, securing access to unique axial-flux technology, deepening its vertical integration and value creation in development and production.

The axial-flux electric motor is recognised as a step-change from the legacy radial electric motor technology. The electric motors reputedly deliver the greatest efficiencies and highest power densities in class for the smallest possible size and weight. Containing a number of pressed stator cores, manufactured from soft magnetic composite iron powder, they are suitable for both hybrid and pure electric vehicle applications.

The auto maker also announced the build-up of the Mercedes-Benz Digital Factory Campus, a facility for the development, testing and implementation of pioneering MO360 software applications, has reached an advanced stage with a series of pilot lines that will go into operation next year. The Berlin site is expected to become the competence centre for digitalisation in the global Mercedes-Benz production network and support the worldwide rollout for new releases and apps in the MO360 ecosystem. At the same time, the campus will become a MO360 training and qualification centre with innovative approaches in the area of digital implementation. Mercedes-Benz is investing a low triple-digit million euros amount in the transformation of its Berlin plant within the next six years.

The digital MO360 ecosystem was launched last year and large parts of the modular and expandable system are already in use at approximately thirty Mercedes-Benz plants worldwide. As a competence centre for digitalisation, the Mercedes-Benz Digital Factory Campus will drive the development, testing and validation of future software applications and concepts for MO360 from next year onwards. The aim is to take the new developments tested in Berlin and to roll them out worldwide and qualify the users in the plants.

“The transformation of the automotive industry is more evident at our Berlin site than at any other Mercedes-Benz plant,” stated Jörg Burzer, member of the board of management of Mercedes-Benz AG, Production and Supply Chain. “The transformation from a production site for purely conventional drive components to a competence centre for digitalisation and production in the field of e-mobility is a significant step for us and our employees. We are offering groundbreaking new opportunities for this traditional location and underlining its role in our global production network – not least as a decisive driver of our digitalisation offensive. With the production of high-performance electric motors, the Berlin plant will become a key pillar of the sustainable Mercedes-Benz electrification strategy.”

With its broad spectrum of MO360 software applications, the Mercedes-Benz Digital Factory Campus also aims to collaborate with partners from business and science; for example, with universities, research institutions and innovative industrial companies. Mercedes-Benz and Siemens announced in March that they would be working together on the sustainable digitalisation and automation of the automotive industry with the support of the state of Berlin.

Cedrik Neike, member of the managing board of Siemens AG and CEO Digital Industries, commented, We have further expanded our successful cooperation with Mercedes-Benz in Berlin in recent months. Together, we are proving that state-of-the-art technologies can also make existing production facilities fit for the future. We are thus taking a major step towards sustainable and even more competitive automotive production. The future of mobility begins in the production hall. And technology from Siemens enables this transformation towards electromobility. This makes us proud.”

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