Mercedes-Benz to begin Tuscaloosa production of two electric-powered SUVs in 2022
Mercedes-Benz on Monday officially announced it will launch six new electric vehicle lines by 2022, including two new SUVs to be built in Alabama.
Mercedes’ electric vehicles will all be branded under the “EQ” designation.
The company announced that the new EQS and EQE SUVs will both be produced in Tuscaloosa, beginning in 2022.
The EQS is considered a luxury class vehicle, while Mercedes termed the EQE as a business model. They are essentially the equivalent to the automaker’s existing S-class and E-class lines, respectively. The EQS SUV will be the flagship of the range, with the EQE SUV to be the second-largest in size, above the various compact SUVs EQA, EQB and EQC.
As far as Tuscaloosa goes, a release from the company said the EQS and EQE SUVs “will be produced in the future on the same line with SUVs with conventional and plug-in hybrid drives.” The Alabama plant currently produces the Mercedes GLE SUV, GLS SUV, GLE coupe and Maybach GLS 600.
Jörg Burzer (member of the Board of Management of Mercedes-Benz AG, Production and Supply Chain) said in a statement, “The Mercedes-Benz production network is global, digital and flexible, and ready for the upcoming electric offensive – thanks, of course, to our highly qualified and motivated employees worldwide. We are now beginning a real Mercedes-EQ fireworks display. Six electric product launches by 2022 underscore the strength and competence of our Mercedes-Benz production sites worldwide.”
The release also stressed that Mercedes’ global battery production network is a key success factor in its electric push. The company is currently building a battery plant in Bibb County to supply the Tuscaloosa vehicle assembly facility with “highly efficient battery systems” for both the EQS and EQE SUVs.
“Work on the building has already been completed. The ultra-modern systems will be installed in the coming months,” the release noted regarding the battery plant.
“Local production of highly efficient battery systems plays a central role in the Mercedes-Benz strategy – coupled with a comprehensive sustainability concept that spans the entire life cycle of the battery all the way to recycling,” added Burzer.
Markus Schäfer (member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG and Mercedes-Benz AG, responsible for Daimler Group Research and COO Mercedes-Benz Cars) stated, “With its ‘Electric First’ strategy, Mercedes-Benz is consistently on the path to CO₂ neutrality and is investing heavily in transformation. Our vehicle portfolio becomes electric and thus also our global production network with vehicle and battery factories. We intend to lead in the field of e-mobility and focus in particular on battery technology. We are taking a comprehensive approach, ranging from research and development to production, and also including strategic cooperation.”
Monday’s announcement finalized and confirmed specific plans to achieve overarching goals that have been years in the making. Recent investments in Mercedes’ Alabama operations have made it clear that the state is key to the company’s worldwide EV strategy.
Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn