Erik Brede Overview Research & Development Organization, Law & Communication IT & Telecommunications Supply Chain Management Production Procurement Finance & Controlling Corporate planning/strategy Marketing & Sales

Tools and part construction for e-motors of the future.

The name of his department – Future Electric Drive – is still new, as is his career in the Research & Development unit. As a trained mechanic specialising in machining technology, Erik Brede transferred from Production to make electric drive configurations more efficient, powerful, and environmentally friendly. Since then, he has been supporting research projects by mechanically executing prototypes and test rigs and modifying them. In his interview, Erik discusses why this step in his career took some effort but was ultimately the right decision.

Hi, Erik. What exactly does your team work on, and what are your tasks?

We design and produce components for test rigs and prototypes. Once our colleagues in construction have designed the component, we step in to mechanically execute it. If the parts are simple, I sometimes create the technical drawing or a 3-D model myself. Then I use water jet cutting or milling to produce the part and weld it if needed. In consultation with the construction engineer, I then make modifications to optimise the component. One of my duties is also to write programmes for the jet cutting and milling machine. And when it comes to particular material properties for a part's function, I research suitable materials, for instance.

"I think it's great to be part of the e-mobility transformation! You learn the most when you're there from the start."
"I think it's great to be part of the e-mobility transformation! You learn the most when you're there from the start."

Are there any projects that stand out in your memory?

In terms of prototypes, I was fortunate to make an adjustment to the fuel supply in the Mercedes-AMG Project ONE hypercar. And whenever an electric motor underwent development from the first generation to the second, I would adapt the existing axle carrier for the new assembly. What's exciting about my job is that whatever we work on today typically comes out in serial production a few years later.

Your unit is responsible for future electric drive configurations. That means you work on one of the most important components for a fully electric future. What does that mean to you?

I think it's great to be part of the e-mobility transformation! You learn the most when you're there from the start. Our tests yield findings that are used for continuous development. When I finish work for the day and walk out the Untertürkheim plant, I pass by the Mercedes-Benz Museum. Sometimes, it makes me think about how many innovations have been introduced over the past 137 years. I'm proud to be instrumental in electrification now.

After training to become an industrial mechanic specialising in machining technology, you held several positions in Production. What brought you to Research & Development?

In 2019, I had the opportunity to initially transfer to the unit on a temporary basis for three years. It was not an easy decision for me to apply for a new job with new subject areas and in a new unit after eight years in Production. Looking back, I can say the decision was spot on! It has introduced me to exciting topics. I find it interesting to be able to see development as a whole in discussion with the specialist units. I really can only recommend being brave, seizing opportunities and daring to try something new! I received additional training on how to use EDP programs and ultimately assumed full responsibility for them.

"I can only recommend being brave, seizing opportunities and daring to try something new!"
"I can only recommend being brave, seizing opportunities and daring to try something new!"

Who is on your team? What are each of your specialisations?

Roughly half of our team has a mechanical background and previously did assembly or rigging work on test assemblies for single-cylinder combustion engines. There is also a software developer on our team, who works on test bench control and importing measuring programmes. We also have colleagues who test the coefficient of friction for components or oil viscosities in the laboratory. Other members of the team handle technical consultation and project coordination, from awarding contracts to procuring tools and test materials.

Whether in Production or Research & Development – what is special about working at Mercedes-Benz?

I think it's cool to work for a world-famous company where I have the opportunity to engage in future topics and to always be continuously developing personally. When I joined the Research & Development unit in 2019, I was mentored by an older colleague who has since retired. He had a great deal of experience, and working with him was very enlightening for me. I'm so grateful to him for that! It's also important to me to keep learning through dialogue with others, which I can do here every day!

At the age of 10, Erik Brede moved from Russia to Germany with his parents and his younger brother and found a new home in Ludwigsburg. Erik was the first member of the Brede household to decide to work for Mercedes-Benz after training to become an industrial mechanic. Today, his brother also works there. To keep in shape, Erik enjoys riding his bike in his free time or going hiking with his family in Austria. His next goal is to hike up the Zugspitze with friends.