Made in the USA
Mercedes-Benz has begun building the all-new, all-electric EQS SUV at its factory in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. The large EV will be built exclusively in America and exported worldwide, as part of a global initiative to have eight all-electric vehicles in production by the end of the year.
The Tuscaloosa factory has actually been building Mercedes SUVs for the world since 2007, and will be a key production site for the company’s electric SUV lineup. In addition to the large EQS SUV, Mercedes will also build the midsize EQE SUV in Alabama; it will go into production in late 2022.
Mercedes’ plant uses state-of-the-art digital, sustainable, efficient and highly flexible production methods, and follows the blueprint of the company`s future-looking “factory 56” in Sindelfingen, Germany, which is pioneering the future of automotive production for Mercedes-Benz.
Thanks to early investments into flexible production, and the use of a state-of-the-art digital production ecosystem, Mercedes-Benz is rapidly ramping up electric vehicle production in multiple sites around the world. Indeed, the company plans to have seven sites producing EVs up and running by 2023.
Local Battery Production
The EQS SUV’s highly-efficient battery system will be supplied from Mercedes’ recently-opened Bibb County, Alabama battery factory. The new factory produces battery systems on a 985-foot production line with more than 70 workstations. A host of components are assembled into a complete system in a fully digitized production process, including up to twelve cell modules and a compartment for the power electronics.
The battery for the EQS SUV is based on a modular architecture that is also used in the EQS and EQE Sedans. However, despite the fact that both the EQS SUV and its battery are made in America, it will not be eligible for a $7,500 incentive from the federal government, as the incentive only applies to trucks and vans costing under $80,000 MSRP. (The less-expensive EQE SUV is likely to start below that price threshold.)
Focusing On Sustainability
In 2022, all of Mercedes-Benz’s production sites in the U.S. already operate on a CO2-neutral basis. The Bibb County battery site’s electricity needs will also be met through renewable energy sources from 2024 onwards.
With a view to the future return of lithium-ion battery systems from Mercedes-EQ vehicles being sold today, the company has also established a global battery recycling strategy. A battery recycling plant, based on hydrometallurgy technology, is under construction in Germany, and the company also plans to close the recyclable-material loop with high-tech partners for battery recycling in the U.S. and China.