On October 5, Mercedes Benz held a groundbreaking ceremony to celebrate the beginning of construction on a new $1 billion battery factory in Tuscaloosa, Ala. The factory is being built to provide batteries for a future all-electric SUV designed by Mercedes.
President and CEO Jason Hoff of Mercedes-Benz U.S. International was present for the celebration as was Alabama Governor Kay Ivey, who said, "Just as Mercedes helped put our state on the cutting-edge of automotive manufacturing, Alabama will help put Mercedes on the cutting-edge of electric vehicle development." Mercedes expects the factory to be operational in 2019.
Since 1995, Mercedes had invested $6 billion dollars into the plant; most of the added $1 billion is slated for the electric initiative. Once completed, Mercedes expects the aforementioned investment to produce over 600 additional jobs in Alabama.
To mark the occasion, Markus Schäfer, member of the Divisional Board of Mercedes-Benz Cars, Production and Supply Chain said, "One year ago, we have announced $1 billion investment in Tuscaloosa mostly for the production of electric SUVs and a battery plant. We are bringing electric mobility for Mercedes-Benz to the United States. Around the globe, we are preparing six sites for production of EQ models and our battery network will consist of eight factories."
This new battery facility in is a part of a network of eight factories in Germany, China, Thailand, and the US. The international network of battery factories is intended to help Mercedes-Benz efficiently meet the demands and requirements of the market.
Mercedes has promised to offer at least one electric vehicle in each model series by 2022, totaling more than 130 models.
The first electric model Mercedes will debut is the EQC electric SUV, expected to begin production early next year in Europe.
Mercedes hasn’t announced a date the model will become available in the US, but it’s expected shortly after that.
US production of Mercedes electric cars and batteries is expected by “the beginning of the next decade.”
There is no official word on the overall planned output of the new Tuscaloosa factory, but Mercedes has made its intention clear to export battery packs to outside electric car production around the world.
This news is followed by reports of Tesla outselling Mercedes in this year’s third quarter. Forbes estimates Tesla as selling 69,925 Model 3, S and X cars in the U.S. this quarter with Mercedes selling 66,542 vehicles (excluding commercial vans).
Which company do you think will reign supreme in tomorrow’s electric auto market?
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