Mercedes-Benz to Produce EQ Brand Electric Cars in the U.S.
Tuscaloosa plant will manufacture SUV models for the company’s EQ brand and a new battery plant
TUSCALOOSA, Ala., Sept. 21, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — Mercedes-Benz will set up electric vehicle production in the United States. The company plans to produce EQ-branded SUV models at MBUSI (Mercedes-Benz U.S. International), its Tuscaloosa, Alabama facility.
At the time being launched, the EQ models will feature the latest status of automated driving – always under the premise of safety and in compliance with the statutory regulations. In addition, a battery plant will also be built near the existing passenger-car plant ensuring availability of cutting-edge technology for future generations of Mercedes-Benz vehicles built in the U.S.
In total, Mercedes-Benz plans to invest $1 billion in the expansion of its industrial footprint in the region, most of which is slated for the electric initiative. It is expected that once completed these investments will create more than 600 additional jobs. Final details of the plans are still being worked on in partnership with the State of Alabama.
Electric vehicles from EQ branded products
Mercedes-Benz will start producing SUV models of the EQ brand in Tuscaloosa at the beginning of the next decade. EQ models will be integrated into the series production at the plant. This is possible because of the early investments in flexibility and technical equipment at the plant that offer trailblazing Industry 4.0 technologies. With the Tuscaloosa plant, Mercedes-Benz will have electric mobility hubs on three continents serving customers’ demand around the globe.
By 2022, the company will electrify the entire portfolio of Mercedes, offering customers at least one electrified alternative in all segments from smart to large SUVs. The company is planning to offer more than 50 electrified vehicle variants. At the same time, Mercedes-Benz will be continuously supporting the development of plug-in hybrids and the introduction of 48-volt-systems. The first EQ series model, EQC, will go into production in 2019 in Bremen, Germany. Technology and product brand EQ is an integral part of CASE, which stands for the intelligent combination of the strategic pillars of connectivity (Connected), autonomous driving (Autonomous), flexible use (Shared & Services) and electric drive systems (Electric).
Fifth Mercedes-Benz factory to produce batteries
The battery factory near plant Tuscaloosa will be part of the global battery production network of Mercedes-Benz Cars for local demand and export. In total, Daimler will invest $1.18 billion (more than one billion Euros) in the battery production network, which will also include production facilities in Germany and China. As in vehicle production, the battery production network will react flexibly and efficiently to market demand. This strategy ensures the ongoing availability of modern battery technology through local production hubs in Europe, China and the U.S. and puts Mercedes-Benz in a highly competitive position for its electric initiative. Construction work for the new one million square-foot facility in Tuscaloosa is expected to begin in 2018, with operations planned to start at the beginning of the next decade.
Mercedes-Benz Tuscaloosa plant
MBUSI – located in Tuscaloosa County, Alabama – is the production location for the GLE, GLS and GLE Coupe SUVs around the world, as well as the C-Class sedan for North America. In 2016, the plant produced more than 310,000 vehicles. MBUSI currently employs more than 3,700 team members and supports 7,000+ jobs on the approximately 1,000-acre site. In September 2015, MBUSI announced a $1.3-billion plant expansion and new jobs to pave the way for production of future SUVs. The expansion makes plant Tuscaloosa one of the “smartest” automotive facilities in the world.