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product differentiation as a strategic competitive advantage of
German or Baden-Württemberg manufacturers relative to foreign
competitors. For example, in the future, high-quality power elect-
ronics, special high-performance traction batteries, or innovative
developments in the electric machine can maintain the existing
excellent reputation of Baden-Württemberg engineering art in the
area of premium vehicles.
Aspects, such as the extremely high value-share of the compo-
nents and a level of automation for manufacturing and installation
processes that is as high as possible (with the prerequisite of high
quantities), in general offer good prerequisites for regionalizati-
on and thus for manufacturing of essential drivetrain components
in Baden-Württemberg. However, in this regard, it should be no-
ted that in the future optimal alignment of the entire production
network is required between all participants in the value creati-
on chain. This is the only way to achieve consistent competitive
structures with the advantages of reduced logistics and customs
expenses, as well as achieving compliance with important quality
and safety standards.
With establishment of a pilot production plant for lithium-ion bat-
teries in Ulm, the first cornerstone has been laid for determining
profitable solutions in the area of battery manufacturing. Cell ma-
nufacturing in the future plant should serve as a central contact
point and dialog possibility for the participating companies and
German research institutions that develop lithium-ion cells. Cur-
rently the transfer of newly developed production procedures, ma-
terials and components, into the pre-series production batteries
for electric vehicles can be viewed as a significant challenge from
the technical production perspective [BMBF (2011)]. In addition,
it is important to establish the quality assurance standards and
methods, to develop clean-room and dry-room concepts for large-
scale production of battery cells, and to continue working on coa-
ting processes and intelligent handling and automation solutions
[Lanza (2011a)].
For production of the electric machine, the automation of process
steps offers potential for achieving economic progress, and thus
potential to establish differentiation from production in low-wage
countries. In this area, mechanical engineers and plant engineers
with innovative production technology, in particular, can partici-
pate in a support capacity. The strong position of Baden-Württem-
berg in mechanical engineering and plant engineering, in particu-
lar, must be used as the essential advantage of the location. With
more than 50 percent of all German machine tool manufacturers
and precision tool manufactures, Baden-Württemberg has opti-
mal prerequisites for offering full-strength support with innovative
concepts and production technologies to companies in the auto-
mobile industry, now and in the future. Optimally trained specialists
and good networking between companies and universities can be
identified as additional advantages for Baden-Württemberg, that
must be further extended in the future [VDMA (2011)].
Power electronics serve as an essential component in the elec-
trified propulsion concept, where the issue is establishing an
optimal connection between battery and drivetrain. However,
manufacturing the individual components, such as power mo-
dules, film capacitors or control electronics, requires extensive
knowledge and experience in semiconductor technology and
the high-voltage area. Companies, such as Robert Bosch, Kol-
benschmidt Pierburg and Valeo can already show documented
activities in the area of power electronics, according to a re-
search study of the Fraunhofer ISI. Nevertheless, the focus of
Baden-Württemberg supplier companies is increasingly on the
activity fields of „traction batteries“ and „air conditioning of the
electric vehicle“ [IHK (2011)]. However, numerous process steps
and sophisticated quality assurance, particularly in the area of
„The OEMs and suppliers in Baden-Württemberg have al-
ways taken a pioneering role in vehicle development and pro-
duction processes. Furthermore, there is a lot of competence
available for the manufacturing of electrified drivetrain com-
ponents that is being specifically extended.“
Jürgen Jost, Division Director, Research&Development, Dürr Systems GmbH
„In order to set up competitive production, Baden-Württem-
berg must adapt itself to the practices of the new Federal
States, that offer massive support with state funds (which in
some cases represent 25 percent of the investment totals).“
Dr. Andreas Gutsch, Project Director Competence E at the KIT, Karls-
ruhe Institute for Technology (KIT)