By on October 8, 2018

Last year, Mercedes-Benz committed to a Tuscaloosa treat in the form of a billion-dollar upgrade to its existing Deep South facility. Details have surfaced on how that cheddar will be spent, including the construction of a new battery factory for the company’s future EV endeavors.

Mercedes has been entrenched into Alabama for about 20 years now, making SUVs and crossovers that are both sold here and exported to other markets. With this investment in electrification, there’s every chance they’ll be in the area for another two decades.

Recently, we’ve learned the Three-Pointed Star will brand its all-electric fleet with an “EQ” prefix, starting with the EQC crossover shown a month ago. Long(ish)-term plans for the company call for an electrified version of everything it sells by the time the calendar flips into the year 2022.

Slated to be constructed within a few miles of the company’s existing plant (which currently builds SUVs like the fancy-pants GLE and its “coupe” brother), the new facility should create close to 600 jobs. Some of that billion-dollar investment will also be plowed into existing production facilities in Alabama, with the company stating the need to modernize the place so all-electric SUVs can be built on the same lines as conventional and hybrid SUVs.

America won’t be the only home for Mercedes battery production, however. Plans call for an octet of EV-focused facilities on three different continents, including ones in Bangkok and Beijing.

Top brass at Mercedes-Benz describe this investment in America as part of an “electric offensive.” Not long ago, top-flight customers looking for an SUV powered solely by electrons were essentially limited to the Tesla Model X. Now, models like the Jag I-Pace and Merc’s EQC are competing for those same dollars. That those more traditional companies are not hamstrung by production distractions or a CEO with a Twitter habit will surely help their cause.

The EQC 400 4Matic, which made its debut in September, will make 402 horses and 564 lb-ft of torque from a pair of asynchronous motors and an 80 kWh li-ion battery. Range should be over 200 miles. It will likely be the first in a line of EQ-branded machines of varying shapes and sizes as all-electric propulsion snakes its way across the Mercedes lineup. Expect to see EQS, EQA, and others in Benz showrooms within the next few years.

It would be a mistake for armchair automotive critics to say that a company like Mercedes is recession-proof or immune to rising fuel prices, even with its well-heeled clientele. Investing heavily in EV architecture is a smart play and, while investments such as these may not realize instant gains, they do help prepare for a future when EVs – thanks to either environmental necessity or government regulation – become the lion’s share of automotive production.

[Images: Daimler AG]

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9 Comments on “Amped in Alabama: Mercedes Breaks Ground for Battery Plant...”

  • avatar

    The matching outfits are great. But, hey, who told that guy he could button his blazer?! Re-take!!!

  • avatar

    Why do German companies keep rewarding Trump states with more investment?

    • 0 avatar
      Master Baiter

      “Why do German companies keep rewarding Trump states with more investment?”

      Because blue states, and the Democrat party in general, are hostile to business.

      Check out Elizabeth Warren’s brilliant ideas around how to manage corporations. She basically wants the Federal Government and labor unions to be guaranteed seats on corporate boards. What could possibly go wrong with that?

      And out here in the People’s Republic of Mexifornia, Governor Moon Beam just signed a law dictating that CA-headquartered companies MUST have a certain percentage of female board members. Because, muh sexism.

    • 0 avatar
      Art Vandelay

      Because we have a lower cost of living, lower taxes, and people willing to do the work. Not sure where they will build, but Toyota is building in Huntsville. Schools are good and it is a nice City to live in with a well educated population that builds things far more technical than cars. Maybe that’s why.

  • avatar

    If that CUV thing didn’t have that big 3 pointed star on the front I would of said it was a Nissan.

  • avatar
    Big Wheel

    Missed in the story, but that plant has also made C-classes since 2015 model year.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    “That those more traditional companies are not hamstrung by production distractions or a CEO with a Twitter habit will surely help their cause.”

    Not so fast:

    As for Tesla, you’re suggesting that the insatiable product demand they enjoy today, coupled with 75% market share, would be *even larger* if they didn’t have such internal problems. OK, I’ll agree.

  • avatar

    Weren’t there plenty of people commenting here until very recently that electric cars would never be viable? Should we anticipate a flood of admissions of being wrong?

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