Published on December 5th, 2019 | by Subhash Nair0
Thailand Is Already Producing PHEV Batteries for Mercedes-Benz
While Malaysia’s new National Automotive Policy continues to be plagues by delays and uncertainty, neighbouring countries like Indonesia and Thailand are securing major manufacturing deals.
Last week, we got news that Hyundai would be constructing a major plant in Jakarta and today it appears Bangkok will be building plug-in hybrid battery packs for Mercedes-Benz passenger cars! Now if that isn’t major news, I don’t know what is.
Mercedes-Benz AG has pumped in more than 100 million euros into making this happen and their local partners in this deal are Thonburi Automotive Assembly Plant (TAAP) and Thonburi Energy Storage Systems (TESM).
Mercedes-Benz Malaysia once produced Plug-in Hybrid variants of each of their mainstream sedans. Today only the S-Class PHEV is available as a locally-assembled model.
The press release below hold more information on this deal and its importance to Mercedes-Benz AG’s overall business strategy.
The global battery production network within the Mercedes-Benz Cars production network has put the third production facility into operation: A factory for plug-in hybrid batteries has been opened in the Bangkok region in Thailand. Together with the local partners Thonburi Automotive Assembly Plant (TAAP) and Thonburi Energy Storage Systems (TESM), Mercedes-Benz AG has invested a total of more than 100 million euros in the battery production and a plant expansion of the existing vehicle production plant. In doing so, the partners are responding to the high demand for electric mobility and, in particular, for plug-in hybrid vehicles in Thailand. At the same time, they are driving the shift towards sustainable mobility as well as a carbon neutral and resource-efficient production.
The Mercedes-Benz plant in Bangkok in Thailand has started local production for Mercedes-Benz plug-in hybrid-batteries. The new battery factory was built on a 50,000 m² site located at the vehicle manufacturing plant in the Bangkok region. In addition, the existing automotive plant has been expanded. Mercedes-Benz AG has invested more than 100 million euros together with local partners Thonburi Automotive Assembly Plant (TAAP) and Thonburi Energy Storage Systems (TESM) for the plant extension and the battery factory. In total, more than 300 new jobs are created, 100 of these jobs are created in the battery production. The production facilities are highly standardised and flexible. As a result, they can be adapted to local market conditions in a short time. With the joint investment in the new factory building as well as the factory extension, Mercedes-Benz AG and the local partner TAAP are once again strengthening their cooperation.
Digital and sustainable battery production
The battery systems manufactured in the new battery factory, are used among others for the current Mercedes-Benz C-Class, E-Class, S-Class as well as for the Mercedes-Benz GLC and GLC Coupé. The high variety of product variants of the local market require very flexible and efficient production and facility concepts. Central assembly stations were set up in the same way as in the battery factory in Kamenz and were further developed for site-specific requirements. In this way, all battery types can be manufactured in the new line for all current and future plug-in hybrids.
The battery factory in Bangkok meets the high Mercedes-Benz standards in terms of ergonomics, industrial safety and digitalization. For example, a new benchmark has been implemented for process assurance: The excellent product quality is generated by a quality assurance system that monitors all production processes online along the value creation. In addition the plant has its own assessment and testing centre.
In order to prepare employees in the best possible way for their new, demanding tasks, they were intensively trained. Mercedes-Benz Cars benefits from the experience gained from its international production network.
The decision for a local battery production in Thailand supports Mercedes-Benz’s overall sustainability goals under the heading “Ambition2039” as well. The aim is a carbon neutral new car fleet until 2039. By 2030, at least every second vehicle sold should have an electric drive – this includes full-electric vehicles and Plug-In hybrids. On the way to sustainable mobility, apart from products production plays a central role: All European Mercedes-Benz plants are to produce completely carbon neutral from 2022. The battery factory in Bangkok will meet this requirement by using large solar systems on the roofs of the production buildings. Excess solar power, for example, is temporarily stored in so-called 2nd-life battery storage systems from recycled electric vehicle batteries. The plant works closely with the Mercedes-Benz Energy GmbH. The stationary storage systems, which can compensate for local energy fluctuations and contribute significantly to grid stabilization, enable economical and resource-saving reuse for disused batteries of electric and hybrid vehicles. This is an important contribution to the economic efficiency and environmental balance of electric vehicles.
About the battery production network
Daimler is investing more than one billion euros in a global battery production network within the global production network of Mercedes-Benz Cars. In total, the battery production network consists of nine factories at seven locations on three continents. The first factory in Kamenz is in series operation. The second factory in Kamenz (Germany), the battery factory at the Beijing site (China) and in Bangkok (Thailand) started series production in 2019. The battery factories in Stuttgart-Untertürkheim (Germany), Tuscaloosa (USA) and Jawor (Poland) will start at the beginning of the next decade.
The local production of batteries is an important success factor in Mercedes-Benz Cars electric offensive and the crucial building block for handling the global demand for electric vehicles flexibly and efficiently. The battery is the heart of all electrified drives. The complex battery systems from Mercedes-Benz are assembled and tested in the international battery factories. Mercedes-Benz buys the battery cells flexibly on the world market and secures access to the latest technologies on the market.
Mercedes-Benz Manufacturing Thailand
The Mercedes-Benz Thailand plant is located in the Bangkok region, where local production with the W123 model began more than 40 years ago. The site is part of the worldwide production network of Mercedes-Benz Cars. In Thailand, the local partner TAAP currently operates the plant with assembly, body and paint shop. The production portfolio currently comprises ten models: GLA, C-Class Sedan, C-Class Coupé, E-Class Sedan, CLS, S-Class Sedan, GLC, GLC Coupé, GLE and A-Class Sedan. In 2018 alone, TAAP produced more than 15,000 cars for Mercedes-Benz. The plant currently employs more than 1,000 people.