Mercedes to Open Hybrid R&D Center in Ann Arbor

By dancurranjr On March 23rd, 2009

mercedes-hybrid-engineAnn Arbor is attracting several advanced hybrid technology facilities to its premises – and now it can add Mercedes-Benz to the list of companies investing in the city.

Mercedes is seeking to relocate a hybrid technology research and development center from Troy, Michigan to Washtenaw County, MLive reported this morning.  The automaker would hire as many as 223 people over the next ten years.  Dubbed the Mercedes-Benz Engineering Center for Powertrains USA, it would be the first major operation of its kind in the Ann Arbor area.

Currently, Mercedes employs 14 people at an engine tech center in Ann Arbor.

According to MLive’s sources, Mercedes is looking for 65,000 square feet for the center, which would develop hybrid transmissions, electric motor technology software and power electronics.  The Michigan Economic Development Corp. is set to approve tax credits for the center today.  The operation could cost up to $9.9 million over five years.

“The MBH Center will employ largely experienced engineers and technicians and will utilize other available and proven local service resources for equipment, test facilities, prototype builds and personnel,” MEDC officials wrote in internal documents, according to MLive.

Other companies specializing in electric vehicle assets include a new startup called Sakti3, which specializes in lithium-ion batteries and has close ties to GM; Advanced Battery Coalition for Drivetrains, a $5 million project with University of Michigan researchers and GM engineers in electric vehicle research; and A123Systems, a battery development company seeking federal energy loans to build a $1 billion plant in the area.

Toyota recently opened a brand new Toyota Technical Center branch just outside Ann Arbor last October, and also has a Calty Design Research production studio in Ann Arbor.

SOURCE: Automobile Mag

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