Mercedes-Benz Cars is expanding its production capacities for electric cars in Europe. The Hambach plant in France, which currently produces smart brand electric vehicles, will produce a compact electric car of the new product and technology brand EQ.
Mercedes-Benz Cars plans to launch more than ten electric cars by 2022 throughout all segments, from smart to large SUVs. The company assumes that unit sales of electric models will represent a share of somewhere between 15 and 25 percent of total Mercedes-Benz sales by 2025. From 2020, the brand smart will only offer electric vehicles. Thereby, smart will be the first automotive brand of the world, which completely changes from combustion engines to electric drives.
The Hambach site in France features many years of experience in building fully electric cars. We want to take advantage of the enormous expertise and prepare the plant for the production of an electric Mercedes-Benz. We are investing a total of around 500 million euros in the Hambach plant and in the product.—Dr. Annette Winkler, Head of smart
With the smart location in Hambach, Mercedes-Benz Cars has a longstanding competence center for the production of electric vehicles. In 2007 smart launched a battery-powered vehicle as a pioneer in e-mobility and has been producing electric smarts in series since 2012. Two electric vehicles, the smart EQ fortwo coupé and the smart EQ fortwo cabrio, are currently being produced there. In Germany the smart brand is the market leader among all-electric vehicles in the first quarter of 2018. The smart plant in Hambach already obtains all its electrical energy from renewable energy sources and is therefore CO2-neutral.
With the production of a compact electric car in Hambach, we are adding further capacities for our electric initiative at six locations on three continents. The smart plant in Hambach will become a part of our global compact car production network with the lead plant Rastatt, Germany.—Markus Schäfer, Member of the Divisional Board of Management of Mercedes-Benz Cars, Production and Supply Chain
The production network of the new generation of compact cars includes the plant in Kecskemét, Hungary, the BBAC production site in Beijing, the COMPAS plant in Aguascalientes (Mexico) as well as the Finnish manufacturing service provider Valmet Automotive.
The preparations for the new model in Hambach will start shortly. The investment of around €500 million ($589 million) will be spend for the construction of new facilities and also flow in the product itself, including a new body shop and surface treatment. The plant will also expand the assembly facilities and reshape the site’s infrastructure.
In the next few years, Mercedes-Benz Cars will invest €10 billion (US$11.8 billion) in the expansion of its electric fleet and around €1 billion 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 (US).