The new EQS SUV: the production

Apr 19, 2022
Stuttgart

In a few months' time, production of the new EQS SUV will begin at the Mercedes-Benz plant in Tuscaloosa (USA). The battery plant in nearby Bibb County, which just opened in March, supplies the batteries for the new Mercedes‑EQ model. Production at both sites is carbon-neutral.

The Mercedes-Benz plant in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, has been the production site for large SUVs bearing the three-pointed star since 1997. Mercedes-Benz will soon also produce the all-electric EQS SUV exclusively at the North American plant – as part of its global initiative to produce eight all-electric vehicles at seven sites on three continents. The EQS SUV will be integrated into the running series production of the Mercedes-Benz Tuscaloosa plant. The highly flexible production system of Mercedes-Benz makes it possible to assemble different models and powertrains on a single production line. This is evident in what is known as the "wedding station", for example, where bodywork and powertrain come together. This "full-flex wedding" comprises several modular stations that allow joining different powertrain variants with the respective vehicle bodies on the same assembly line. For example, the EQS SUV is produced on the same line as the conventionally powered SUVs, allowing the plant to adapt quickly to changes in customer demand.

Local battery production is a key success factor for Mercedes-Benz's electrification initiative. The new battery factory, which opened in nearby Bibb County in March, produces the battery systems for the EQS SUV on an approximately 300-metre-long production line with more than 70 workstations. A host of components is assembled into a complete system in a fully digitised production process, including up to twelve cell modules and what is known as the EE compartment for the intelligent integration of the power electronics. The battery for the EQS SUV is based on a modular architecture that is also used in the EQS and EQE Saloons. With the new plant, Bibb County will become part of the global Mercedes-Benz battery production network, which includes factories on three continents. When running at full capacity, up to 600 employees in two-shift operation produce batteries in the six digits annually.

Thanks to comprehensive digitisation with the MO360 production ecosystem and the consistent application of Industry 4.0 technologies, the Tuscaloosa and Bibb County plants operate flexibly and highly efficiently. MO360 obtains real-time information from the most important production processes and IT systems of the approximately 30 Mercedes-Benz passenger car plants worldwide, and integrates important software applications.

As of this year, all of the Mercedes-Benz owned passenger car and van plants worldwide produce on a CO2‑neutral basis, including the Mercedes-Benz plants in Alabama.

Mercedes-Benz has invested more than seven billion dollars overall in Alabama since the 1990s. This includes one billion dollars in the construction of the new battery factory in Bibb County, in the logistics centre and in the flexibilisation of the production sites. At present, Mercedes-Benz U.S. International (MBUSI) employs a workforce of about 4500 and in addition secures some 11,000 more jobs at suppliers and service providers in the region. Since 1997, about four million vehicles rolled off the assembly line at the plant in Tuscaloosa. In 2021 alone, it was some 260,000 SUVs. About two thirds of the annual production output is exported, making MBUSI one of the biggest vehicle exporters in the USA.

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