Vitesco Guadalajara, Over 500 Global Patents

We had the opportunity to visit the research and development center of Vitesco Technologies, a German company dedicated to offering solutions to the automotive industry, fully committed to the electrification of mobility in a sustainable manner. To make it easier to understand, they research and develop electric motor parts, battery packaging, and powertrains. In the lobby of their facilities in Guadalajara, there is a large wall with commemorative plaques of patents generated there—over 500 with nearly 5,000 employees, most of them engineers.

Vitesco expects the electrification business to break even in 2024. Vitesco Technologies, which generates revenues of $9 billion, announced that it was merging with the German company Schaeffler AG, which generates $16 billion annually, to boost electromobility. “Now we are a bigger and stronger company. In more than 80 percent of activities, we complement each other more than we compete, and neither company will disappear. In fact, Vitesco is the result of other mergers and acquisitions that happened in the past,” said Antonio Rodríguez, CEO.

Mexico’s openness to globalization led Vitesco to establish its largest research and development center in the Americas, including the United States, in Guadalajara. “We are a global company with operations all over the world: Germany, Europe, Asia, and here in Mexico we have five facilities. Two manufacturing plants in Ciudad Juárez, a financial center in Silao, and another plant in Cuautla Morelos, in addition to the research center in Guadalajara,” indicated Alberto Romero, head of engineering.

An interesting aspect of this globalization is that many of the patents, once they enter the production process, are almost never made in Mexico but in other plants located around the world. “It all depends on costs and proximity to where the developments will be integrated. What is patented here can be developed in Asia or vice versa,” added Marc Richter, CEO of NXP.

A current development at Vitesco’s R&D in Guadalajara is the creation of a wireless system, very similar to a packaged internet network, for managing the lithium batteries of electric cars. Through radio frequency, the charges or wear of the batteries are balanced, so the vehicle always responds with the same power and performance, whether with 10% or 100% charge. If one battery wears out first, the other supports it. Many of today’s electric cars require a swarm of cables connecting one battery to another.

The primary resource of a research and development center is human resources, which is why Vitesco’s human resources department is considered key. At the Techday celebration: Driving the Future of Electromobility, the importance of seeking engineering talent was highlighted. “We participate in all engineering professional events, and we have agreements with the most important and regional universities. It is not easy to get them because it is not a very popular area among students and is often misfocused. So far, we are already talking about mobility engineering or semiconductor engineering; we need to do more with academia, companies, and different levels of government,” concluded Karen Zuñiga, director of human resources.

Resumen en Español: 

Vitesco Technologies es una empresa alemana comprometida con la electrificación sostenible de la movilidad. En su centro de investigación en Guadalajara, desarrollan partes de motores eléctricos, empaquetamiento de baterías y trenes motrices, con más de 500 patentes y cerca de 5,000 empleados. Vitesco espera alcanzar el punto de equilibrio en 2024 y se ha fusionado con Schaeffler AG para impulsar la electromovilidad. En México, tienen su mayor centro de investigación y desarrollo en las Américas, junto con otras instalaciones en Ciudad Juárez, Silao y Cuautla Morelos. La globalización permite que muchas patentes se desarrollen en plantas ubicadas en diferentes partes del mundo. Además, están trabajando en un sistema inalámbrico para la administración de baterías de autos eléctricos y destacan la importancia de recursos humanos y el talento en ingeniería para el futuro de la electromovilidad.