Marcus Schaefer, the company’s head of production and supply chain management, said that they will monitor the expensive 80kWh battery pack, instead of just increasing the assembly rate in its two factories in Germany and in China.
“We want to be sure we deliver Mercedes quality from day one in all aspects, and we have to watch the warranty side for customers as well,” Schaefer said to Automotive News. “We don’t want customers ending up at the mechanic later.”
“Slowing down the ramp-up is a tool to make sure we do it right, to address all the unknowns that an electric car brings,” he said.
Schaefer added that so far, no problems have arisen at the battery plant in Kamenz, Germany and that all suppliers were carefully vetted. However, producing a vehicle with a new technology at this scale has never before happened for Mercedes, so Schaefer prefers to prepare for possible problems with the battery pack.
“This is the heart of the electric vehicle, which is very much in charge of safety and performance of the vehicle as well as long life and costs,” he said.
When asked what’s his biggest concern, Schaefer answered:“It’s the supply chain behind the doors of Kamenz. There are hundreds of components that have to come together from various new suppliers, Tier 2 and Tier 3, which are in the background, and we have to see their performance.”
Mercedes will start building the EQC early next year at the Bremen factory in Germany, with the electric SUV sharing the same line with the GLC and nine other models. Schaefer said that he expects no problems in the EQC production once the batteries are shipped to Bremen and to their Chinese joint venture plant in Beijing.
“I’m not worried about the production plants in Bremen and Beijing,” Schaefer said. “I know their capability, and they have proven they can ramp up in lightning speed.”