Daimler is advancing its global EV offensive as it incorporates its Thai facility into its network of production hubs. Together with local partner Thonburi Automotive Assembly Plant (TAAP) they will invest 100 million euros in Bangkok.
The investment is to expand an existing facility but also to construct a new battery production plant for Mercedes’ evolving electrified fleet. The batteries made there will power EQ labelled electric cars made in and for Thailand.
Markus Schäfer, Member of the Divisional Board of Management Mercedes-Benz Cars, Production and Supply Chain described their approach as a “standardized and scalable battery production concept” that is to enable Mercedes “to start operations in any region at short notice and at the right size.”
The government of Thailand supports the move although no sum of funding has been disclosed. Dr. Uttama Savanayana, Minister of Industry in Thailand said “Mercedes-Benz has applied for promotional privileges for its new investment in Plug-In Hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) production, which coincides with Thailand’s automotive industry development towards the future of electric vehicles and supply chain development. This new move reflects the confidence that the German carmaker has in Thailand as its key production base in this region.”
The battery factory in the Thai capital region is the sixth in a growing network of Daimler battery production hubs on three continents. It joins the circle of locations such as Untertürkheim, where the German firm has in-sourced its Accumotive plant reportedly. Apart from Untertürkheim and also German Sindelfingen and Rastatt, there are plants in Tuscaloosa in the USA. China is on board too through BBAC, Daimler’s joint venture with BAIC. Daimler will also complete a second battery factory in Kamenz this year as preparations for the EQC at the Mercedes-Benz plant in Bremen intensify as planned.
The lines in Bremen will be the first to churn off a Mercedes EQ model. The EQC will go into production there in 2019. The EQ brand is part of what Daimler calls CASE, which stands for the combination of connectivity (Connected), autonomous driving (Autonomous), flexible use (Shared & Services) and electric drive systems (Electric).
Daimler will invest more than one billion euros in the battery production network worldwide. Local production of batteries in Thailand is planned to start by 2019.