Daimler begins operating $172 million R&D facility in China

With so many electric vehicle innovations and manufacturing happening in China, it is little wonder that more EV makers are flocking to the Asian country. Daimler has now joined the roster of foreign carmakers operating in China, following the opening of its R&D Tech Center China in Beijing.

The complex, which costs $172 million, will focus on technological trends and custom-made innovation to enhance Daimler’s product development in China.

Daimler will conduct research, engineering, simulation, and testing in the facility and employ about 1,000 engineers. It has a total floor space of 55,000 square meters, along with offices, warehouses, and parking lots for the cars that would be tested. The employees will have access to state-of-the-art equipment to do their jobs.

Both hardware and software development will take place at this new site. They will take place in an eDrive lab, a charging lab, a chassis lab, a volatile organic compound lab, a vibration and harshness lab, and an environmental lab. The teams could work on more than 300 vehicles simultaneously.

Daimler tests its cars extensively to ensure the highest quality as their clientele simply expects the best in luxury, comfort, and performance. The company has spent decades building up its reputation and always tries to live up to it.

The chassis lab of the Tech Center China contains the most sophisticated road simulator that can mimic extreme road conditions. It is connected to other testing facilities worldwide through a global R&D network. This allows the China team to compare results with other groups.

Daimler says it pays attention to the testing of electric vehicles because of their unique characteristics. For example, the weight added by the battery calls for extra tests of the inner forces and stresses.

The eDrive lab can simulate a temperature range of between -30 ˚C to +50 ˚C, a necessity if Daimler must see how the EV batteries behave under different kinds of temperatures. Daimler vehicles are driven globally and all year round, meaning the batteries will work under different temperatures.

Markus Schäfer, Member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG, explained:

“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 digitization, 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 German automaker joins Tesla, who built facilities in China to design, test, and build an affordable electric vehicle that the CEO hopes will accelerate the adoption of battery-powered mobility.