Daimler, Mercedes-Benz’s parent company, is already converting gas-powered car production capacity to electric car production capacity in Europe, but now it looks like they are turning their attention to the US.
The German automaker confirmed today that it plans to invest $1 billion to build Mercedes-Benz’s ‘EQ’ electric cars and its batteries in the US.
The Mercedes-Benz EQC, a compact SUV and their first all-electric vehicle built to be electric from the ground up, will be manufactured at their Tuscaloosa, Alabama facility.
Markus Schäfer, Member of the Divisional Board of Mercedes-Benz Cars, Production and Supply Chain, commented:
“We are excited to celebrate 20 years of production in Tuscaloosa by expanding our operations in the region and by bringing our electric initiative to the United States. With this one billion dollar investment, we are significantly growing our manufacturing footprint here in Alabama, while sending a clear message to our customers across the U.S. and around the world: Mercedes-Benz will continue to be on the cutting-edge of electric vehicle development and production. With production locations for EVs and batteries in Europe, China and, now, the U.S., our global network is ready for the era of electric vehicles. Thanks to our plant modernization in Tuscaloosa, we will be able to quickly ramp up U.S. production of EQ models, while also being more flexible to our customers’ demands for innovative vehicles that live up to the excellent quality that is synonymous with the Mercedes-Benz brand.”
The Tuscaloosa factory already produces the SUV models GLE, GLS and GLE Coupé, and the new EQC, albeit electric, is in the same segment.
A significant part of the investment is to build a battery factory near the existing plant. The factory will not only produce packs to support the production at the Tuscaloosa factory, it will also export packs to support other electric car production.
Daimler will start construction work for the new one million square-foot facility in Tuscaloosa in 2018 and operations are planned to start “at the beginning of the next decade.”
The EQC will enter production in Germany first in 2019 and the US production is expected to again start “at the beginning of the next decade.”
The long-range all-electric vehicle is based on the ‘Generation EQ’ concept unveiled last year with 250 miles of range.