Mercedes-Benz has opened an expanded development and test centre at its truck plant in the German town of Wörth after a year and a half of construction. This is where solutions for connected, autonomous and electric driving for trucks will be developed and tested.
The development and testing centre, also known by its German abbreviation EVZ, is the centre of competence for the development work of the Mercedes-Benz truck division, and the company has invested around EUR50 million (USD55 million) in the plant. The new construction includes a new test bench building that will house system and complete vehicle tests, and an office and workshop building. This will also create 100 new jobs in the town of Wörth, not far from Stuttgart. The EVZ is connected to the truck assembly plant, also in Wörth.
An additional EUR20 million (USD22 million) was invested in the road-to-rig test stand for real-time analyses. In 24/7 operation, drive trains, from diesel engines, gas engines and hybrid drives to battery-electric and fuel cell drives can be simulated on the test bench under realistic driving conditions and developed to series production readiness. Thus, the test chamber can cover a temperature range between -7 and +50 degrees Celsius, and a massive fan can simulate the wind at speeds of up to 90 kph.
It should also be possible to test various vehicle combinations with up to four driven axles. The tractor unit in the test hall is mounted on four drums with a diameter of three metres. At each drum is a large, water-cooled electric motor with an output of 600 kW. These electric machines enable the simulation of all driving resistances, such as extreme gradients with a full load, but also braking during downhill drives.
According to Uwe Baake, head of Product Development, Mercedes-Benz Trucks, the Group also wants to reduce the burden on the environment with the new test stand, as the tests and measurements no longer have to be performed on the road but can be simulated precisely in the hall.
“The new development and testing capacities perfectly complement the activities of our truck production in Wörth. By bundling the development scopes, Mercedes-Benz Truck’s largest plant has gained in importance, offering attractive jobs in the southern Palatinate region that are secure in the long-term,” said Stefan Buchner, member of the Board of Management of Daimler Truck AG, at the opening ceremony on 9 January, which was also attended by state government Minister-President of Rhineland-Palatinate Malu Dreyer (SPD).