Daily Management Review

Mercedes-Benz Plans To Build EV-Exclusive Manufacturing Lines In A Few Years


Mercedes-Benz Plans To Build EV-Exclusive Manufacturing Lines In A Few Years
Mercedes-Benz plans to have facilities that would exclusively manufacture electric vehicles (EVs) by the second part of the decade, the company said.  However, the luxury carmaker will avoid establishing EV-only operations and rather maintain manufacturing lines that are flexible to meet market demand for both EVs and conventional fossil fuel-based vehicles.
According to production boss Joerg Burzer, some of the carmaker's manufacturing lines within plants will transition completely to electric even sooner.
"Building a whole new battery-electric vehicle factory takes time. We have taken another approach," Burzer said.
"We will certainly have some lines producing only electric vehicles in the next few years... we also see whole factories switching to electric - that is a topic for the second half of the decade."
The luxury carmaker will begin manufacturing its EQE model, which was unveiled at the IAA Mobility exhibition in September, in Bremen later this year, with production units in Beijing and Tuscaloosa following soon after.
Mercedes is banking on the model, an electric version of the E-class with a maximum range of 660 kilometers, to improve EV unit sales as it moves investment away from internal combustion engines and toward electric-only manufacturing platforms.
"With the ramp-up of the EQE in Bremen and later in Beijing, we are coming into a segment where we can deliver at far higher volumes," Burzer said.
Last year, battery-electric cars accounted for only 2.3 per  cent of Mercedes-Benz Cars sales, rising to 11 per cent when plug-in hybrids, which have both an engine and a battery, are included.
Electric and hybrid-electric cars are predicted to account for 50 per cent of sales by 2025, with all-electric cars accounting for the majority of that.
Existing versions are all manufactured in companies that also produce internal combustion engines, with batteries carried by train from Sindelfingen to plants in Germany and Hungary.
As vehicle design evolves to incorporate the battery more closely into the automobile, battery assembly and production might be brought closer to car factories in the future, according to Burzer.