Europe will be getting yet another new electric vehicle courtesy of Mercedes-Benz. Daimler announced that the Mercedes-Benz A-Class E-CELL electric passenger car is under production at the company’s Rastatt plant in Germany. The new vehicle will be Daimler’s third electric vehicle following in the footsteps of the smart for-two electric drive and the B-Class F-CELL.
The five-passenger family vehicle has an estimated driving range of more than 200 kilometers (about 125 miles). Production of the zero-emissions E-CELL vehicle required only minimal design changes to the base A-Class lineup, mainly a new cargo space in the floor to hold the vehicle’s lithium-ion batteries.
Since no body design changes were needed, the E-CELL can be assembled almost entirely on the existing A-Class production line. The lithium-ion battery assembly and installation process is the only procedure that requires the E-CELL to be removed from the A-Class assembly line. Upon completion of the battery installation, the E-CELL then continues on with the rest of the A-Class models for dynamometer testing, a weather test, and the final inspection stages.
Daimler created a comprehensive training program to prepare for the production of an electrified vehicle at its Rastatt plant. Uwe Reich, project manager for the E-CELL describes the staff training and safety program:
"We have perfectly prepared our staff for working with these new, alternative technologies. Over the course of several training modules, they have been able to gain the essential qualifications for their future tasks. We are thus able to ensure that they are absolutely ready to work with high-voltage components.” Source: Daimler
Daimler plans to produce 500 of the Mercedes-Benz A-Class E-CELL vehicles for distribution to select customers across Europe including Germany, France, and the Netherlands. Unfortunately there is no word as to whether the Mercedes-Benz A-Class E-CELL will ever make its way to the United States.