Mercedes-Benz announced that its Hambach plant in France (currently used for the production of smart fortwo cars) will be expanded to add production of the new, all-electric compact EQ model.
Mercedes EQA CES 2018
The investment in the plant and in the product will be around €500 million ($589 million). Hambach is a wise choice due to its previous experience with BEVs due to current fortwo production.
For Daimler, this will mark the sixth place in the world scheduled for EQ vehicle production, leading to more than 10 models arriving by 2022. The German manufacturer predicts that 15 to 25% of unit sales will be electric by 2025.
Which model will find its home at the Hambach site was unspecified, however, Mercedes did say it will be compact. We already expected the EQA compact model production to come from Rastatt in Germany, so maybe there will be two compact-sized models. Mercedes's recent statement is included below:
Mercedes-Benz Cars is expanding its capacities for electric cars in Europe. The Hambach plant in France will produce a compact electric car of the new product and technology brand EQ. “20 years ago we started an exemplary German-Franco project with the production of the smart in Hambach. Now we take the next step and for the first time in our more than 100-year old history we bring the production of Mercedes-Benz to France. With the compact EQ model from Hambach we continue our electric initiative,” says Dr. Dieter Zetsche, Chairman of the Board of Management of Daimler AG and Head of Mercedes-Benz Cars after a meeting with the French President Emmanuel Macron at the Élisée Palace in Paris.
The preparations for the new model in Hambach will start shortly. The investment of around 500 million euros will be spend for the construction of new facilities and also flow in the product itself: With state-of-the-art technology a new body shop and surface treatment will be build. The plant will also expand the assembly facilities and reshape the site's infrastructure.
In 2017, Mercedes-Benz Cars took crucial strategic decisions for the electric mobility:
- Currently, electric hubs for the production of electric vehicles and batteries are being built around the globe.
- By 2022, Daimler will electrify the entire portfolio of Mercedes-Benz, offering customers at least one electrified alternative in all segments. To that, Mercedes-Benz will continue to further promote the development of plug-in hybrids and the introduction of 48-volt systems. Out of more than 130 electrified vehicles, more than ten will be fully electric passenger cars - throughout all segments, from the smart to the large SUV.
- In the next few years, Mercedes-Benz Cars will invest ten billion euros in the expansion of its electric fleet and around one billion euros in a global battery-production network within the worldwide production network. This will create a global battery-production network that will comprise six battery factories on three continents.
- With the smart EQ fortwo and the smart EQ fortwo cabrio the smart plant Hambach is producing the fourth generation of electric vehicles of the small city car since 2017. The first Mercedes-Benz electric vehicle of the new product and technology brand EQ will roll off the assembly line at the Mercedes-Benz Bremen plant. Production of the EQC, a fully-electric SUV, will start in 2019. Shortly after, the EQC will also be produced at BBAC, the joint venture of Daimler and BAIC. Further locations for future EQ models of Mercedes-Benz are the Mercedes-Benz plants Rastatt (Germany), Sindelfingen (Germany), Tuscaloosa (USA).