Mercedes-Benz Begins Production of the Highly Anticipated EQS Electric SUV in Alabama
Mercedes-Benz has officially started production of the highly anticipated EQS electric SUV at its assembly plant in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. The EQS SUV is the third electric model in the automaker's EQ lineup, following the launch of the EQE and EQS sedans. The EQS SUV is built on the same EV platform as the EQS and EQE.
The Tuscaloosa plant uses state-of-the-art digital, sustainable, efficient and flexible production methods and follows the blueprint of the automaker's "Factory 56" in Sindelfingen, Germany, which represents the future of automotive production for Mercedes-Benz.
The traditional assembly line is replaced by driverless transport systems in selected production areas that Mercedes calls "TecLines". The TecLines allow for high-efficiency assembly for large-scale production and increases flexibility so that production can be adjusted without any interruptions to current operation.
Mercedes-Benz made early investments in flexible production at the Alabama plant, such as the state-of-the-art MO360 digital production ecosystem. The company says its able to produce battery-electric vehicles in large volumes.
Mercedes-Benz has invested a total of more than seven billion dollars in Alabama since it opened in 1997. Around four million vehicles have been built there, including 260,000 SUVs in 2021 alone. Roughly two-thirds of these vehicles are exported, making Mercedes-Benz one of the largest exporters of vehicles from the U.S.
The EQS SUV will also be launched in Europe by the end of the year.
"We have a highly skilled and motivated team that has absolutely delivered in the successful product launch of the new EQS SUV," said Michael Goebel, President and CEO of Mercedes-Benz US International. "Our Team Members in Tuscaloosa have shown a lot of flexibility, energy and commitment in helping us to achieve milestone after milestone since our first Mercedes-Benz rolled off the production line more than 25 years ago."
The Alabama assembly plant has also produced full-size gas-powered Mercedes-Benz SUVs since 1997. The factory will now serve as a key production location for other electric SUVs in development, including the smaller EQE SUV, which is slated to enter production later this year.
"Our production network is very well positioned for the sustainable and rapid scaling of electric vehicle volumes. With the new EQS SUV joining our production portfolio of all-electric Mercedes-EQ models, we reached another important milestone in our strategy to go all electric by the end of the decade – wherever market conditions allow," said Jörg Burzer, Member of the Board of Management of Mercedes-Benz Group AG, Production and Supply Chain. "I am absolutely sure that our great Tuscaloosa team will make the electric SUV another global success."
Mercedes-Benz unveiled the new EQS SUV in April. The EQS SUV set the bar high for premium electric SUVs and is poised to compete with the Tesla Model X, Cadillac Lyriq and other premium electric models.
The 7-passenger EQS SUV offers plenty of space and comfort, with a luxurious and well-appointed interior that's representative of the luxury Mercedes-Benz brand.
The electric motors on the front and rear axles are known as permanently excited synchronous motors (PSM). The advantages of this design include high power density, high efficiency and high power constancy, according to Mercedes Benz.
The electric EQS SUV has powerful permanently excited synchronous motors (PSM), as well as an optional 4MATIC all-wheel drive and an intelligent OFFROAD driving mode for tackling light terrain. However, it's likely that many of these well-appointed luxurious EQS SUV models will probably never be taken on any serious off-road adventures.
For the 4MATIC models, Mercedes-Benz added what it calls a "Torque Shift" function, which ensures that torque is distributed equally between the front and rear wheels. The advanced systems monitor the torque of each individual wheel 10,000 times per minute and make any adjustments if needed for optimum traction and handling. Mercedes-Benz says this feature enables a much faster response in the versions with 4MATIC than with mechanical all-wheel drive.
The EQS SUV also offers dynamic driving modes, which include ECO, COMFORT, SPORT and INDIVIDUAL.
WLTP range for the EQS SUV is expected to be 660 km (410 miles) and an output up to 400 kW. The DC fast charging system accepts charging rates up to 200 kW to recoup around 250 kilometers (155 miles) of range in about 15 minutes.
Along with the production of the EQS SUV in Tuscaloosa, the battery modules for vehicles are being manufactured at the automaker's newly opened, state-of-the-art battery plant in Bibb County, which is located near the plant in Tuscaloosa. Mercedes-Benz says that production of the high-performance lithium-ion batteries for the EQS SUV is entirely CO2-neutral.
Production of fully-electric vehicles at the Alabama Mercedes-Benz factory is part of the automaker's global initiative to produce all-electric vehicles at seven sites on three continents this year.
Mercedes-Benz is accelerating the roll-out of its EQ models and plans to have nine fully electric EQ models on sale globally by the end of the year. It will give Tesla, General Motors, Audi, BMW, Lucid Group and others some serious competition in the premium EV space going forward.
"In order to remain the leading luxury brand in an all-electric future, Mercedes-Benz is accelerating the market launch of its EQ models," said Markus Schäfer, Member of the Board of Management of Mercedes-Benz Group AG, Chief Technology Officer, responsible for Development and Procurement when the EQS SUV was unveiled in April. "This year, our portfolio will comprise nine all-electric Mercedes EQ models worldwide, and we have more exciting products in the pipeline."
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