Mercedes-Benz breaks ground on battery factory next to US vehicle plant

by Autocar Pro News Desk , 07 Oct 2018


L-R: Markus Schäfer, Member of the Divisional Board of Management Mercedes-Benz Cars, Production and Supply Chain, with Kay Ivey, Governor of Alabama, and Jason Hoff, President and CEO of MBUSI (L to

On October 5, Mercedes-Benz held the groundbreaking ceremony for a new battery plant in Tuscalooksa, USA. The factory will be built near the vehicle production site in Tuscaloosa providing batteries for future electric SUV under the product and technology brand EQ. The same day also saw the first all-new Mercedes-Benz GLE, which is based on a completely new SUV platform, leave the production lines.

Markus Schäfer, Member of the Divisional Board of Mercedes-Benz Cars, Production and Supply Chain, said: "The widely export oriented Mercedes-Benz plant in Tuscaloosa is a high-tech production facility with a successful history and an exciting future in terms of our brand in the United States. We aim to play a pioneering role in the development of e-mobility and are well prepared to accomplish this mission. 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."

More than $6 billion has already been invested in the Tuscaloosa plant since 1995. The additional $1 billion will help Mercedes-Benz Cars expand its industrial footprint in the region, most of which is slated for the electric initiative. It is expected that, once completed, these investments will create more than 600 additional jobs in Alabama.

The new battery facility near the Tuscaloosa plant is part of a global battery production network of in total eight factories in Kamenz, (Germany), Stuttgart-Untertürkheim (Germany), Sindelfingen (Germany), Beijing (China), Bangkok (Thailand) and Tuscaloosa (USA). Mercedes-Benz says the worldwide network of battery factories allows it to react flexibly and efficiently to market demands and requirements. The different sites supply local vehicle production and are ready to export batteries, if required. Mercedes-Benz Cars will offer at least one electrified vehicle in each model series by 2022 totaling up to more than 130 models. Mercedes-Benz is about to start the production of electric passenger cars as part of its worldwide electric initiative. This includes the production of an all-electric SUV in the U.S.

The Tuscaloosa plant is the production location for the GLE, GLS and GLE Coupe SUVs around the world, as well as the C-Class sedan for North America. In 2017, the plant produced around 300,000 vehicles.

Read more: Mercedes's future electric models to have more radical design