Mercedes-Benz has revealed the key sites that will underpin electric car production, as it marches towards a 2021 launch of its much-anticipated EQ range.
While you can refresh on everything we know about Mercedes' incoming EQ vehicles below, the brand has announced its high-end EQS sedan will come from Sindelfingen, just 20 minutes from Stuttgart, in the first half of next year.
It’ll be assembled in the brand’s forward-thinking Factory 56 plant. The new-age factory employs driverless transport systems and will eventually build S-Class and Maybach derivatives as well.
As a side note, it's claiming the Factory 56's processes boost efficiency during S-Class production by 25 per cent.
Meanwhile, Mercedes has earmarked Rastatt, which is close to Germany’s border with France, to build the EQA compact SUV, whereas the EQE business sedan will hail from Bremen in north Germany.
The last EQ-related production site hails from east Germany’s Kamenz, where battery systems for both the EQE and EQS will be built.
Mercedes’ Tuscaloosa plant in Alabama, USA, will take care of EQE and EQS SUV model and battery production from 2022. While all other models will launch in 2021.
Finally, Mercedes' EQ offerings will enter the Chinese market via local production sites, given all models except the EQS sedan, EQS SUV and EQE SUV will also be made in Beijing.
What is Mercedes' EQ range all about?
Mercedes-Benz recently previewed a massive leap forward in its EQ electric car ventures with six new models on the horizon, marathon battery ranges of up to 1200km and slashed charging times rolling out from next year.
The announcement was made at the German car maker’s 2020 Strategy Update where it detailed a roadmap for vehicle development into the next decade. It includes confirmation that a production EQS large luxury sedan will arrive in 2021, followed by the EQE mid-sized sedan and a pair of SUVs based on those sedans.
Before that, though, the EQA small electric SUV will break cover, followed by the slightly larger EQB, also in 2021. While Mercedes has been vocal about many of its EQ models in concept form, this is the first time it has confirmed a whole suite of production versions in one chunk.
Completing the septet of EQ models, Mercedes has also revealed an EQXX prototype is under development and, while an arrival date is yet to be confirmed, the company has offered a few startling details.
A single top-lit view of the new vehicle is the only image on offer for now but its elegant profile suggests EQXX will represent a high-performance coupe-esque sedan to do battle with Porsche’s Taycan.
Furthermore, Mercedes says new battery and drivetrain technology will allow the production version to travel between Beijing and Shanghai on a single charge – that equates to about 1200km of range.
The company has also confirmed that its future electrical systems will offer 800-volt technology and two-speed gearboxes, bringing all the advantages that, so far, only Porsche’s Taycan and the Lucid Air can enjoy.
Drag-strip-destroying acceleration and fast charging are just two, with Mercedes adding that its imminent EVs can be charged with enough power to cover 250km in just 15 minutes.
While other contenders in the EV arena squabble for attention and battle over maximum battery range, Mercedes’ most recent claims knock brands including Tesla and Lucid clear out of the car park.
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As for exactly which of the EQ models will be coming to Australia is yet to be fully confirmed although the full set is highly likely. Mercedes-Benz Australia has previously explained that at least one fully electric version of each of its existing model lines will be arriving in local showrooms, which accounts for virtually the entire known EQ family.
While the EQC has already landed, the most recent EQs would easily slot into existing model lines, with only the mysterious prototype still up in the air - although that too could evolve into an equivalent of an existing model and an EV version of the AMG GT.
WhichCar understands nothing is off the table at this stage but individual model offerings are not yet ready for confirmation.
With the strategy update, Mercedes’ EV platform plan is becoming clear. The EQS will be the first to roll on a new ‘skateboard’ type EVA platform destined for larger models. It will bring up to 500kW of power and 700km of range on the WLTP cycle.
Below that, a mid-sized MMA skateboard will support five new models although they are yet to be detailed. Interestingly the platform has been designed to accommodate combustion power units in the case of plug-in hybrids – of which Mercedes has 25 planned before 2025.
The strategy also confirms that the Maybach brand will not be excluded from the electrification process with the EQS and EQS SUV models likely taking the shape of variants in the ultra-luxury line-up.
A growing EQ family fits a few more pieces into the emerging electrification puzzle for Mercedes and its aggressive targets to slash carbon emissions both in corporate average vehicle emissions and company operations alike.
By 2025, Mercedes will have reduced combustion engine production by 40 percent, and that number will grow to 70 percent 10 years from now. Correspondingly, there will be 20 three-point star EVs in the market by the same point, alongside 25 PHEVs.
This, says Mercedes, will enable it to have a carbon neutral global vehicle production operation by 2020 and by 2039 at the latest it will become an entirely carbon neutral company.