Daimler, Mercedes-Benz's parent company, will invest $1 billion in its Tuscaloosa, Alabama plant in order to prepare it for the German automaker's first electric SUV, which should begin production in the early 2020s. Prior to that, it will also build a facility near the plant that will be responsible for putting together the battery systems that will underpin the electric utes. Mercedes claims this new plant will add approximately 600 jobs in the region.
When the electric SUV comes to market, it will do so under Mercedes' EQ subbrand. It will be the fourth such subbrand in Mercedes' portfolio: Mercedes-Benz builds your traditional luxury cars, Mercedes-AMG handles performance vehicles and Mercedes-Maybach is responsible for building ultraposh land yachts.
"With production locations for EVs and batteries in Europe,and, now, the US, our global network is ready for the era of electric vehicles," said Markus Schäfer, the Mercedes-Benz board member for production and supply chain, in a statement. "Thanks to our plant modernization in Tuscaloosa, we will be able to quickly ramp up US production of EQ models, while also being more flexible to our customers' demands."
Rumor has it that the first electric SUV from Mercedes-EQ will be sized similarly to the GLC-Class crossover currently in production. It's unclear just how much it will take from thethat got this whole thing started in 2016. With an electric motor at each axle, the Generation EQ put out about 400 horsepower and more than 500 pound-feet of torque. If it were to come to production, those numbers would likely be a bit lower in order to maximize range, which should hopefully be north of 250 miles.
The aforementioned electric SUV will be the first of an onslaught of electrified vehicles. Mercedes-Benz plans to introduce dozens of partial or fully electric vehicles over the next decade.