In the second half of the decade, Mercedes Benz expects to have factories making electric vehicles exclusively, but will refrain from building EV-only plants instead of keeping production lines flexible so that production lines can keep pace with market demand.
The carmaker factories are planning to go fully electric with some production lines even sooner, according to production chief Joerg Burzer in an interview with Reuters.
Our approach is an alternative to building a whole factory from scratch for battery-electric vehicles because It takes time to build a factory, Burzer explained.
It’s certain that there will be some lines that will exclusively produce electric vehicles in the next few years. We also see whole factories switching over to electric, that will be a topic of discussion in the second half of the decade.”
Later this year, Mercedes-Benz will begin production of its EQE model, unveiled at the IAA Mobility show last September, in Bremen, followed by Beijing and Tuscaloosa.
With a range of 660 km, Mercedes is betting on the model to spur sales of EV units as it shifts investments away from internal combustion vehicles toward electric-only production platforms.
The EQE ramp-up in Bremen and in Beijing will put us in a segment that can enable us to deliver products at much greater volumes, Burzer said.
According to Mercedes-Benz Cars, only 2.3% of their sales were battery-electric vehicles in last year, but that rises to 11% if you also include plug-in hybrid vehicles, which have both an engine and a battery.
The company expects electric and hybrid electric cars to account for 50% of all sales by 2025, with all-electric cars accounting for the majority of that.
In Germany and Hungary, batteries are transported by rail from the main plant in Sindelfingen to plants producing internal combustion engine vehicles. All existing models are being built in factories that produce gasoline-powered cars as well.