In preparation for the start of production of the EQS SUV and EQE SUV, Mercedes-Benz has opened a new battery plant in the United States. Located in Bibb County, Alabama, the plant will produce the batteries for the two large electric vehicles in a CO2-neutral process on a production line approximately 984 feet (300 meters) long with more than 70 workstations. . Up to 600 new jobs will be created in the Bibb County area.
Mercedes explains that the EQS SUV batteries have a modular design very similar to the design of the EQS and EQE battery packs. The battery system uses cell chemistry containing nickel, cobalt and manganese in an 8:1:1 ratio. Like the German company’s other global battery plants, the Alabama one will supply local vehicle production, although it can also export batteries to the company’s global production network if needed.
Mercedes chose Bibb County as the location for its new battery plant primarily because of the energy-efficient design of its existing building. Solar thermal energy is used to heat water, while all site electricity will be supplied by renewable energy sources from 2024. Interestingly, all forklifts at the plant are powered by hydrogen instead of diesel. Meanwhile, the automaker is also working on a new battery recycling plant in Germany, where lithium-ion batteries from Mercedes-EQ vehicles will be recycled.
“The opening of our new battery plant in Alabama is a major milestone on our path to all-electric,” comments Ola Kallenius, CEO of Mercedes. “With our holistic approach including a local cell sourcing and recycling strategy, we emphasize the importance of the United States, where Mercedes-Benz has been successful for decades. We are proud to create new, sustainable jobs to build all-electric SUVs “Made in the USA” in a factory that has been an integral part of our production family for 25 years.”
As for the EQS SUV itself, Mercedes will unveil it in full on April 19. We’ve seen prototypes of the zero-emissions luxury SUV test on public roads, including a California test car, and we’re about a month away from seeing the three-row EQS (third row will be optional) under its official form.