Daimler officially started operations of its new R&D Tech Center China in Beijing. With an investment of 1.1 billion RMB, the company is further strengthening its R&D footprint and technological capabilities in the world’s biggest car market.
The fully-fledged R&D Tech Center China focuses on major technological trends, tailor-made innovation and significantly accelerating Daimler’s local product development, especially electric vehicles (EVs).
The new R&D Tech Center China will enable the company to significantly increase the speed and efficiency of its R&D activities. Future products from Mercedes-Benz can be comprehensively engineered, tested and verified long before they hit the road. Around 1,000 engineers will benefit from intensive exchange and expertise sharing.
Markus Schäfer, Daimler AG member of the board of management responsible for Daimler Group Research and Mercedes-Benz Cars COO, said: “Mercedes Benz will go from “electric first” to “electric only”. This requires accelerating our R&D efforts, additional investments into battery electric vehicles, and advancing our EV portfolio plan.
“When it comes to digitisation, artificial intelligence, autonomous driving, cutting-edge computing, our R&D team in China plays an increasingly important role for us. This goes for technology development, but also for technology sourcing, especially with regard to New Energy Vehicles (NEVs).”
The new R&D Tech Center China has a gross floor area of 55,000 m2 and integrates an office building as well as a test building with state-of-the-art testing facilities, a workshop, a warehouse and testing-car parking lots.
The test building at the centre is home to seven state-of-the-art testing facilities including an eDrive lab, a charging lab, a volatile organic compounds (VOC) lab, a chassis lab, a noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) lab, an engine lab as well as an environmental lab. The new test building can accommodate more than 300 test vehicles at the same time.
Mercedes-Benz testing requirements are extremely diverse to ensure Mercedes typical vehicle characters and quality, such as ride and handling, noise comfort or durability. The new test building ensures consistency and reproducibility of testing processes throughout the year and in line with global Mercedes-Benz standards.
The eDrive lab is equipped with two test chambers that can simulate a temperature range of -30˚C to +50˚C. The two sets of four-wheel dynamometers can test whole electric vehicles, components or real battery pack tests. By adjusting the roller force and using big data applications, the intelligent test bench can simulate real driving conditions like air resistance or different topographies.
This allows comprehensive testing of next-generation electric vehicles at an early stage, under extreme conditions and throughout the year. The new eDrive lab also sets benchmarks in terms of sustainability and energy conservation: It is able to recuperate the energy of the tested vehicle back into the electric grid, which reduces the overall energy consumption significantly.
Mastering all disciplines of chassis development becomes even more decisive in the age of electric vehicles. The developers are equally meticulous in their approach to compensate for inner forces and stresses caused by the extra weight of the battery or elevated driving performance.
The Tech Center’s new chassis lab is equipped with a state-of-the-art road simulator that can simulate extremely rough road conditions. It allows 100 percent comparable results with other locations within the global R&D network. Based on this, the engineers in the new R&D Tech Center China can optimise comfort and durability for localised carlines, in particular for electric vehicles.
By speeding up the process of producing electric cars the brand will be able to bring products to market quicker and the time savings involved will hopefully be reflected in more competitive prices for customers.