Mercedes-Benz is rapidly moving toward an all-electric future, and today, the automaker took a significant step toward realizing that goal. The company’s Alabama manufacturing facility came online today, building the full-size EQS electric SUV for all global markets.
Mercedes’ six-million square-foot plant in Vance, AL, will eventually build more than 100,000 EVs. The automaker believes its manufacturing capacity is rapidly scalable and can sustain a little more than 300,000 units per year. At the same time, the Alabama facility will continue gas vehicle production, and EVs will utilize existing paint and bodywork facilities.
The EQS SUV follows the EQS sedan, EQE sedan, and EQB electric SUV. The EQ sub-brand is part of Mercedes’ goal of converting half its annual sales volumes to EVs by 2030. The brand hopes to increase to 45,000 EQ vehicles in the U.S. by 2023.
Mercedes is one of several major international automakers building significant EV production and development capabilities in the United States. Ford and GM have invested billions into their production networks, but BMW, Volkswagen, and others are not far off their totals. Volkswagen made a hefty investment to expand its production capabilities in Chattanooga, TN and will build its ID.4 EV there going forward.
Electric vehicles still comprise only a tiny portion of overall auto sales in the U.S., but their appeal is growing. Rapidly climbing gas prices and unpredictable inventory of new gas vehicles have driven buyers to EVs in increasing numbers. Used EVs are more popular than ever now, too, so there’s an opportunity for automakers ready for the demand.