As you may know already, earlier this week Mercedes-Benz introduced the A-Class E-Cell, a new electric vehicle which will be produced in a limited edition of just 500 units. As a result, Mercedes-Benz started production of this car at the Rastatt site, Germany. If you don’t know it already, we will tell you that the car is powered by an electric motor capable to deliver 70 KW (95 hp) and an impressive 290 Nm of torque.
It has a total range of more than 200 km (NEDC) or 124 miles. Comparing it to the standard version, the A-Class E-Cell received only minor adjustments such as new consoles for fixing the lithium-ion batteries. Only the assembly and commissioning of the innovative lithium-ion batteries is made at a separate station.
Integrating the A-Class E-CELL in the production phase was never a complicated exercise. During production, workers only needed to fix the lithium-ion batteries to the A-Class body using consoles. The batteries are produced at a different station, and then taken to the A-class production line.
The batteries are then integrated into the A-class after assembly procedures have been completed in the standard production line. The E-CELL lithium ion batteries also undergo rigorous dynamometer testing and other processes before they are included in the assembly of the A-class.
As a result, there is no need to make major changes to the exteriors of the A-class just to accommodate the E-CELL Li-Ion batteries. All of these production processes are undertaken by highly trained staff at the Mercedes-Benz manufacturing facility at the Rastatt plant.
Before they are deployed to the production line, Mercedes-Benz invests time and money in giving them the proper training to work with the technology, says A-Class E-CELL project manager Uwe Reich.
The training is very detailed, with members of the production staff going through various training modules to ensure that they have expert knowledge on the high-voltage systems that they are working on.
Mercedes-Benz even invested in establishing a central training production line in Rastatt. This is an added layer of training to further ensure the quality and familiarity in the staff members with the tasks and responsibilities that they are going to be given in the future.
Through the training line, staff can test the knowledge they received in the training without jeopardizing actual production. Rastatt continues to be and will remain an important facility for Daimler AG. The company had already bookmarked an investment of around €600 million in expanding the facility.
Upgrades are also due for the Rastatt plant paint shop. This is thanks to an additional €10 million investment that’s exclusively for improving the existing shop. These investments are intended to make the plant sustainable in the long-term, eliminating the need to acquire new production facilities.