Fill it up with sun, please!
Great design and trailblazing technology: The solar-powered charging station at the Mercedes-Benz Australia headquarters combines everything that gives the brand with the star its special radiance. The showcase project for reducing the CO2 footprint was initiated by the local procurement unit.
Plug-in – Charge – Drive on
Mercedes-Benz is sending a signal for environmentally conscious mobility in Australia with the available S 500 e, GLE 500 e and the C 350 e. Plug-in-hybrid vehicles have a combined combustion and electric engine. The high voltage battery can be charged with a special plug through an electrical socket. And so, for Horst von Sanden it was only logical to set up an electric vehicle charging station for employees and business partners at the corporate headquarters in Melbourne. But the CEO of Mercedes-Benz Australia wanted even more. A charging station that not only supplies electricity but also generates it with solar panels. This is a concept that achieves the maximum CO2 savings effect compared to conventional electrical power.
Product Management as well as the PR and Communications unit gave the green energy idea additional tailwind. The goal was to open the electric charging station in parallel with the market launch of the new plug-in hybrids. The connection to design was to be established through a sophisticated architecture: as one of the brand values of Mercedes-Benz. In addition to the pure use of the solar station, the special design shall also attract more public attention. And, underlines the positive image of the environmentally friendly vehicles with the star.
The Procurement unit came into play in order to realize this in September 2015. There was a search for local suppliers who could realize the design-oriented concept. Procurement was supported by the Network Development team, which also took care to ensure that the measurements, color codes and lettering were in conformity with the building regulations, among other things. The Legal department ensured that Mercedes-Benz Australia would retain the contractual rights to the charging station architecture.
Pioneer of impressive design
One hundred solar panels, three Mercedes-Benz energy storage units and four wall boxes – the equipment of the electric charging station doesn’t take long to describe. One challenge was the realization of the 3D CAD planning, which was immediately received very well by management. After the approval, however, the supplier established that it was unable to build the charging station with its technical resources. Modifications to the materials or design were impossible in the short time horizon until the opening. So what was to be done?
Procurement together with the Business Partners then developed a solution that would ensure the brand fascination of Mercedes-Benz: Using historical data from previous projects, the team found a special supplier that could bring the tubular fascia elements into the upright arch form. The charging station opened punctually on July 12, 2016 – with the planned architecture, within budget and absolutely on time. And the success story can go on. The station was designed in a way that enables shipping the module anywhere in the world. Positive feedback and price inquiries have already been received from other Mercedes-Benz plants. If this should lead to development of tangible projects, the Procurement unit will be happy to support the special operations for this additional business as well.