Mercedes-Benz has grand plans for the production of its EQ subbrand, and part of this would be to restructure its 20-year-old factory located in Vance, Alabama. To do this, the automaker will have to invest about $1 billion in the plant, so they could also electrify all models in their lineup by 2022. All in all, they plan to electrify over 50 different models.
Markus Schaefer, member of the divisional board of Mercedes-Benz Cars responsible for production and supply chain, said in relation to the investment that their global network is ready for electric vehicles considering the fact that there are production locations for EVs and batteries in several continents including Asia, Europe, and the United States. He was also glad to say that production of the EQ in the U.S. will be a lot quicker for them, because of the plant modernization in Tuscaloosa.
At last year’s Paris Motor Show, Daimler unveiled an EQ concept SUV, and it was described as a near production model. The EQ sub-brand consists of sedans, crossovers and SUVs.
Mercedes-Benz expects the reconstruction to begin sometime next year, but the assembly of the EQ vehicles will not happen until the beginning of the next decade. When the factory begins its operations, it will be able to create over 600 job opportunities in the region. However, they have not given an estimate of how many cars they will be able to produce. The company will also have another factory nearby where they will be making electric vehicle batteries. This will be the fifth unit in the global battery production network of Mercedes Benz Cars.
Mercedes Benz Norway has begun taking orders of the EQ SUV despite the fact that the production model has not been unveiled yet. Many people are interested in the EQ model, therefore, people are limited to reserving one unit only, each with a $2,500 reservation fee that is refundable. The first batch of deliveries should begin in 2019. At the time of the launch, the EQ branded models will also feature the latest in autonomous driving technology, says Daimler.
The company also said that they will continue to support the development of plug-in hybrids and the introduction of 48-volt systems.
Today, the same factory in Vance is where models like the GLE-Class, GLE-Class Coupe, GLS-Class SUVs and C-Class sedans are made. Last year, a total of 310,000 vehicles were assembled in the plant. Overall, Daimler has invested over $5 billion to the development of the plant. Naturally, automakers will have to spend billions of dollars if they would like to develop new technology for cars, as well as when they want to produce more than what they are already making.