Daimler AG and Geely Holding, parent companies of Mercedes-Benz and Volvo Cars respectfully, are collaborating on the development of a powertrain system for the next generation of hybrid vehicle applications. The companies plan to work together on engineering, sourcing, industrialization and efficiency measures.
Both companies see efficient drivetrain technologies as central to the ongoing transformation of the automotive industry and plan to accelerate the transition to emission-free driving by working together on a next-generation gasoline engine specified for hybrid applications. The companies plan to produce the engines at their facilities in Europe and China, with exports from China to be considered an option.
“Our goal continues to be CO2-neutrality. By 2039, our ambition is a completely carbon-neutral new passenger car fleet. The consequent electrification of our powertrain portfolio therefore is an integral part of our drivetrain strategy,” said Markus Schafer, member of the board of management of Daimler AG and Mercedes-Benz AG. “To this end, we are systematically converting our portfolio, so that by 2030 more than half of our passenger car sales will be comprised of plug-in hybrids or purely electric vehicles. We are looking forward to the future; when, together with Volvo’s ICE unit and Geely, we will further extend our synergies in the field of highly efficient drivetrain systems in China and the world. At Mercedes-Benz, the newly established unit Mercedes-Benz Drive Systems will spearhead the project and create cost efficiencies.”
An Conghui, president of Geely Holding Group and president and CEO of Geely Auto Group, said, “Clean and highly efficient powertrains are integral to our core competitiveness. With our full commitment to electrification supported by our new ‘Sustainable Experience Architecture (SEA)’ as the core pillar, we will continue to seek competitive advantages in R&D, production, supplier management and other fields and focus on the development of premium electrified vehicles. This project reflects the need for economies of scale and targeted research and development investment in clean and highly efficient powertrains and hybrid drive systems and their applications. Together with our partner, we will jointly develop next generation of advanced technologies in order to remain at the top in the industry in times of wide-ranging change.”
Volvo, now owned by Geely, opened its Ridgeville, South Carolina, plant — its first U.S. plant — in 2018, producing the S60 sedan. The plant is expected to begin production of the XC90 SUV around 2022, at which time the plant will produce approximately 150,000 vehicles annually. The plant employs nearly 1,500 people.
Mercedes-Benz has plants in Alabama and South Carolina. In Alabama, Mercedes-Benz U.S. International continues to expand. In October, an additional 500,000-square-foot storage and sequencing facility for parts for electric vehicles was announced. It is slated to be completed in 2022. This is in addition to a battery plant already under construction. The battery plant is part of a network of facilities that will allow Mercedes to offer at least one electrified vehicle in each of its model series starting in 2022. The MBUSI plant currently produces the Mercedes-Benz GLE-class and GLS-class SUVs and the GLE coupe.
In South Carolina, Mercedes assembles the Sprinter vans at its Ladson plant. The plant also reassembles the Metris vans. Currently it assembles approximately 185,000 Sprinter and Metris vans annually, primarily for the U.S. market. It employs approximately 1,700 people at the plant.