The Mercedes-Benz factory in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, currently manufacturers the GLE (formerly known as the M Class), the GLS full size SUV, the C Class sedan, and the GLE Coupe. Many of those cars are exported to global markets. Now, that factory has begun building the SUV version of the new EQS battery-electric car, the standard bearer for the company going forward. Every EQS SUV for both domestic and foreign customers will be built exclusively in Tuscaloosa, according to a Mercedes press release. The SUV variant of the EQE sedan will also be built at that factory starting later this year.
Jörg Burzer, head of production and supply chain at Mercedes, says, “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. I am absolutely sure that our great Tuscaloosa team will make the electric SUV another global success.”
The EQS SUV is the third model based on the Mercedes EVA2 electric vehicle platform. According to Electrive, at 5.12 meters long, it is ten centimeters shorter than the EQS sedan. In addition, at 1.72 meters, the SUV is 20 centimeters taller. The width without exterior mirrors is roughly the same at 1.95 meters. The EVA2 platform has a wheelbase of 3.22 meters — the same for both the EQS and the EQS SUV — and features a 12-module battery with 107.8 kWh of usable energy. Optional rear wheel steering can reduce the car’s turning circle by almost one full meter to 11 meters.
The EVA2 platform uses 400 volt architecture with a charging capacity of 200 kW — the maximum possible with the CCS standard which limits current flow to 500 amps. The car comes with an 11 kW onboard AC charger. A 22 kW charger is optional in the sedan, but whether it is also available on the SUV is unknown.
The battery for the EQS SUV comes from the battery factory that opened in March in nearby Bibb County, Alabama, where Mercedes manufactures the battery packs from purchased cells. In the future, the electric vehicle models from the US plant will use battery cells from Envision AESC, which will also be manufactured in the US.
Michael Goebel, CEO of Mercedes-Benz US International, is proud of the team at the Tuscaloosa factory. “We have a highly skilled and motivated team that has absolutely delivered in the successful product launch of the new EQS SUV. 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 employees here at the site can be proud that the first all electric SUV from Mercedes Benz and its battery are being built in Alabama.”
TechCrunch says the EQS SUV is based on the GLS — the largest SUV offered by Mercedes. An optional third row seat makes it possible for the car to carry 7 passengers, and of course the MBUX Hyperscreen, a 3-screen system that merges under scratch resistant glass that makes it look like a single 56-inch wide display, is available.
The SUV will come in three versions. The EQS 450+ base model is rear-wheel drive only and has a single motor rated at 265 kW (335 hp) — 20 more than the base model of the EQS sedan, which will receive the up-rated motor shortly. The EQS 450 4MATIC has dual motors, but the same total power. The high performance EQS 580 4MATIC has dual motors with a total of 400 kW (536 hp) of power. Its range is rated at 372 miles on a full battery charge using the WLTP standard common in Europe. EPA ratings have not yet been released.
Prices in the US have not be revealed either, but the dollar and the euro are near parity these days. The 450+ starts at €110,658.10 in Germany, the 450 4MATIC starts at €114,446.10, and the EQS 580 4MATIC starts at €135,291.10. None of these cars will qualify for the new electric car incentives enacted by the United States earlier this month, but at least they will be made in America using American-made batteries.
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