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Sino-German JV to supply EQS SUV batteries

China’s Envision AESC partners with Mercedes-Benz to supply EQE and EQS SUV batteries

17 Mar 2022

CHINESE-owned battery producer Envision AESC will provide electric-vehicle battery modules to Mercedes-Benz’s Tuscaloosa, Alabama production facility from 2025 as the Sindelfingen-based marque scales up production of its range of all-electric vehicles.


The new battery plant – the location of which has not been disclosed – will supply batteries for Mercedes-EQ models (including the upcoming EQE SUV and EQS SUV) in a move that the firm claims “underscores the importance of the USA within the Mercedes-Benz production network and the status of Alabama as an export hub for luxury SUVs in the electric era”.


The Tuscaloosa production facility, which is one of seven locations on three continents to produce Mercedes-EQ models, has produced Mercedes-Benz models since 1997, and currently builds GLE- and GLS-Class SUVs. The company says that once BEV production is fully underway, the site will be capable of producing up to 6000 vehicles a month.


“Establishing a strong battery-cell partner network in accordance with our global production strategy is a very important milestone on our way to CO2-neutrality. Envision AESC will be a major supplier securing capacity for the next generations of our Mercedes-EQ products built in the US in the years to come,” said Mercedes-Benz chief technology officer of development and procurement, Markus Schaefer.


“With Envision AESC’s net-zero carbon solutions and battery technology, this new cooperation underlines our holistic approach regarding our sustainable value chain and allows us to secure supplies, to take advantage of economies of scale, and to provide our customers with superior battery technology,” he added.


Mr Schaefer said the Tuscaloosa plant would assist the company in reaching its goal of being fully electric by the end of the decade, and that together with partners worldwide, Mercedes-Benz would have eight battery-cell factories with a production capacity of 200gWh by 2030.


The announcement follows recent news that Mercedes-Benz had taken an undisclosed financial stake in US-based solid-state battery developer, Factorial Energy. At the time, the company said the collaboration aimed to significantly improve the energy density (and, therefore, driving range) of EV battery packs.


Factorial Energy claims its “breakthrough solid-state batteries” offer up to 50 per cent longer range per charge and increased safety at a similar price point to conventional lithium-ion units.


Mercedes-Benz also used the announcement to provide a first look at its forthcoming EQS SUV. The seven-seat model, which will make its global debut on April 17, features a modular battery pack like that found in the EQE SUV and promises a “luxurious interior” that Mercedes-Benz said would “redefine an entire segment”.


The new EQS SUV will be available optionally with a 56.0-inch curved MBUX Hyperscreen that sweeps across the vehicle’s dashboard and provides instrumentation and infotainment displays in addition to an individualised screen for the front-seat passenger. The EQS SUV is also one of the first Mercedes-EQ models to debut a ‘free-floating’ centre console.


The 5160mm long model – which is built on Mercedes-Benz’s dedicated Electric Vehicle Architecture – is understood to feature a 108kWh lithium-ion battery pack and dual-motor all-wheel drive (4Matic), with the flagship variant producing outputs of up to 385kW and 855Nm. An optimal driving range of up to 600km is expected.


A single-motor variant is also expected. It will probably be equipped with a 91kWh battery pack and have a rear-wheel drive configuratoin. The base version of the EQS SUV is tipped to offer outputs of up to 245kW and 600Nm and a driving range of as much as 750km.

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