Stuttgart / Mannheim – Anniversary in Mannheim: for twenty-five years, the Competence Center for Emission-Free Mobility (KEM) has been the pilot factory for Daimler AG's vehicles with alternative drive systems. As a development partner within the company, KEM builds prototypes, produces small series and prepares series start-ups. This closes the gap between vehicle development and large-scale production. Mainly, KEM focuses on introducing and integrating electric and other alternative drive systems into series production. At the same time, designing production lines with cutting-edge technologies is one of KEM's core competencies. More than 50 engineers, master craftsmen and mechatronics specialists combine their extensive know-how to define new manufacturing processes for components of low-emission and emission-free vehicles such as battery packs or entire battery systems.
Series production of battery packs and systems "Made in Mannheim"
The Competence Center for Emission-Free Mobility has already been involved in the series start-up of the fully electric Mercedes-Benz eCitaro city bus, which has been manufactured in Mannheim since the end of 2018. Since then, battery modules have been pre-assembled into battery systems for the eCitaro at KEM. These are mounted to the roof and also installed into the engine compartment during the city bus's assembly. Due to this expertise, series production of battery packs for the eActros scheduled from 2021 onwards will also take place at KEM.
A success story with a secure future – the Competence Center for Emission-Free Mobility
The Competence Center was founded in 1994 for emission-free commercial vehicles and began solely as an experimental workshop for new drive systems. One of its first projects was the assembly of T1-model vehicles – the predecessor of the Sprinter – with electric drives in 1996. Over the past decades, its focus of development as well as production have been diverse and wide-ranging, based on the most recent events and trends. For example, its focus was primarily on natural gas drives in the early 2000s, while it has been shifting more and more to electric drivetrains and battery technologies in the past years. Most recently, KEM has completed the assembly of eActros trucks for customer testing in a team effort with the Mercedes-Benz sites in Wörth and Stuttgart. Among other things, KEM took over the training and qualification of employees with regard to the new technology and its corresponding production processes.