Mercedes-Benz Poised to Steal Tesla’s Thunder With EV ‘Fireworks’

Tesla has set itself apart with its focus on innovation, technology, and green design. While its electric vehicles stand out today, other companies are working to catch up. Mercedes-Benz, for one, is positioning itself to steal Tesla’s thunder with eight new electric vehicles starting in 2022. Here’s a look at the German automaker’s plans.

Mercedes-Benz’s electrification plan

Mercedes-Benz is working to place itself ahead of Tesla in the premium EV market. Eight new all-electric Mercedes-Benz models are expected to begin arriving in early 2022. By 2030, Mercedes-Benz expects that more than half of its sales will be made up of plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) and full-electric vehicles (EVs). Mercedes-Benz is also working to offer electric versions of all of its models in all classes of vehicles. Markus Schäfer, Daimler’s board member for research, also said that “the number of combustion engine variants will fall by 70 percent by 2030,” according to Autovista Group.

As part of its goal to make its products CO2-neutral, Mercedes-Benz will concentrate on battery technology, from research and development through production. The goals are longer range and shorter charging times. In July 2020, the company announced a partnership with Chinese battery cell manufacturer Farasis Energy (Ganzhou) Co. Ltd., even taking an equity stake in the company, according to Automotive World.

In addition, Mercedes-Benz expects to launch a proprietary operating system — MB.OS — in 2024. The new operating system will allow the automaker to centralize and standardize the electric vehicles and their driver interfaces.

Mercedes-Benz’s EV factories

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Mercedes-Benz recently announced that its Tuscaloosa, Alabama, factory would begin producing large electric SUVs beginning in 2022, a move that’s part of its EV “fireworks display,” Forbes said. Mercedes-Benz will renovate its Tuscaloosa plant as the location where it will build the new EQS and EQE large EV SUVs. Tuscaloosa will then be the largest Mercedes-Benz SUV supplier worldwide. The recent announcement will keep the workforce in place in Alabama.

The German automaker expects to build all of its electric models in new factories or existing ones. Tuscaloosa will be one of five dedicated EV factories globally. Schäfer said, “The EQS, the first electric luxury sedan from Mercedes-Benz, will start in the first half of 2021 in Factory 56 at the Sindelfingen site,” Forbes reported.

In addition to Tuscaloosa and Sindelfingen, Germany, Mercedes-Benz EV factories will also operate in Rastatt, Germany; Kecskemét, Hungary; and Beijing, China. The manufacturer will produce its smaller compact SUV, the EQA, in Rastatt, while it’ll produce its larger compact SUV, the EQB, in Beijing. It’s also expected that Mercedes-Benz will manufacture the EQV van in Vitoria, Spain.

Mercedes-Benz will soon begin manufacturing its EQS and EQE battery systems in its Untertürkheim and Hedelfingen factories in Germany. Other smaller batteries will be manufactured in Kamenz, Germany; Jawor, Poland; and Beijing. In 2022, the automaker will also begin batteries for the EQS and EQE SUVs in Tuscaloosa.

The brand’s electric vehicles

Mercedes-Benz already has electric vehicles as part of its EQ sub-brand. The EQC SUV debuted in 2019. Its EQV people mover launched toward the end of 2020. And the additional electric vehicles will debut by 2022 in what the automaker’s board member for production and supply chain, Jörg Burzer, called “a real Mercedes-EQ fireworks display,” Forbes reported.

Many auto manufacturers are working on electric vehicles and have plans to transform into greener companies. While Tesla is already a big player, Mercedes-Benz is set to roll out eight new electric vehicles by 2022, making two of them in Alabama. The company will strengthen its focus on luxury electric vehicles, along with their software and batteries.