Prof. Dr.-Ing. Bharat Balasubramanian, known as Prof. Bharat in Germany and Dr. B in USA, was born and raised in India and attained a honors degree in mechanical engineering at the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay, located in Mumbai. He then followed his passion for automotive design to one of its epicenters — Germany — where he went on to earn a master’s and then a doctorate in engineering and launched a 38-year career in research and development with Daimler-Benz AG in the Mercedes-Benz (MB) Cars Division.
He rose up the ranks at MB and in 1997 was promoted to Vice President in MB Cars R&D, becoming the first non-German VP at R&D in the history of the company. In 2006, he was given additional responsibility as VP of Daimler’s group research and advanced engineering. He also headed MB R&D international operations, including North America, India and China.
Dr. B was the initiator and champion of connected vehicles, automated driving, electric cars (CAE), and carbon fiber reinforced polymer (CFRP), light weighting at Daimler. He founded the collaboration between Tesla and Daimler and has remained friends with Elon Musk since 2007.
After retiring from Mercedes-Benz/Daimler in 2012, Dr. B joined the University of Alabama (UA) in Tuscaloosa, which has a close relationship with the Mercedes-Banz US International SUV Plant, sole manufacturers of the MB GLE and GLS models, also located in Tuscaloosa County. His multi-disciplinary team has won over $20 Million of US federal grants on CAE research in the 2022/2023 time frame.