Mercedes-Benz is ramping up its electric vehicle investments with the opening of its new battery assembly plant in the United States that will supply local EQS SUV and EQE SUV production.
Seven miles away from the vehicle assembly plant in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, the new facility in Bibb County has started producing batteries today, three and a half years after construction started and a few months ahead of the start of production of all-electric Mercedes-EQ vehicles in the US.
The automaker says the new battery assembly factory underscores the importance of the United States within the Mercedes-Benz global production network and Alabama's status as an export hub for luxury SUVs in the electric era. Mercedes will build the EQS SUV and EQE SUV at its plant in Alabama as part of a global effort to produce eight all-electric vehicles at seven locations on three continents.
"The opening of our new battery plant in Alabama is a major milestone on our way to going all-electric. With our comprehensive approach including a local cell sourcing and recycling strategy, we underline the importance of the US, where Mercedes-Benz has been successful for decades. We’re proud to create new, future-proof jobs to build all-electric SUVs 'Made in the USA' at a plant that is such an established part of our production family since 25 years."
Ola Källenius, Chairman of the Board of Management of Mercedes-Benz Group AG
Out of a total of $7 billion invested in Alabama by Mercedes-Benz since the 1990s, $1 billion was invested into the battery plant, the logistics centers and to upgrade the Tuscaloosa production line to make EVs.
Gallery: Mercedes-Benz electric vehicle battery plant in Bibb County, Alabama
The plant in Bibb County builds high-performance lithium-ion batteries for the EQS SUV and EQE SUV assembled into a complete system on a production line around 984 feet (300 meter) long with more than 70 work stations.
The plant uses a fully digitalized production process to combine a variety of components, including up to 12 cell modules and the so-called EE compartment, for the intelligent integration of the power electronics. As with the EQS and EQE sedans, the battery system that will be fitted to the seven-seater EQS SUV employs a modular design and uses highly advanced cell chemistry containing nickel, cobalt and manganese in a ratio of 8:1:1.
Battery production in Bibb County is CO2-neutral, according to Mercedes-Benz; in addition, the site's entire electricity needs will be met through renewable energy sources from 2024 onwards once planned solar energy projects gain approval. The factory will contribute to the creation of up to 600 new jobs in the county.
In order to localize important suppliers, Mercedes-Benz is partnering with Envision AESC, which will supply the Bibb County facility with high-performance battery modules from a new plant within the US. However, supplies won't start shipping before mid-decade.
The new facility in Alabama adds to Mercedes-Benz's global battery production network which includes factories on three continents including in Kamenz (Germany), Beijing (China), Bangkok (Thailand), Jawor (Poland), and Stuttgart (Germany).
The meet its goal of going all-electric by the end of the decade, Mercedes-Benz and its partners plan to build eight cell factories worldwide with a with a production capacity of 200 Gigawatt hours by 2030.