Mercedes Cooking Up Compact Electric Car To Take On Tesla

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It will be built at the automaker’s Hambach plant in France as part of a $589 million investment.

At last year’s Frankfurt Auto Show, Mercedes-Benz presented the EQ A concept to preview its forthcoming onslaught of EVs. While Tesla is struggling to ramp up production of the Model 3, Mercedes is aiming to launch 10 new EVs by 2022 under its new EQ sub-brand, which will be built across six locations around the world. The German automaker has now announced that one of them will be an electric compact, which will be built at the company's Hambach plant in France alongside electric Smart models.

Mercedes didn't specifcy which model will be built at the plant, but presumably it will be the production version of the EQ A concept. It will be built as part of a €500 million ($589 million) investment to construct new facilities at the French factory including a new body shop, as well as reshape the site’s infrastructure to prepare for the new model. These preparations will “start shortly,” but Mercedes didn’t go into any further detail. “20 years ago, we started an exemplary German-Franco project with the production of the Smart in Hambach,” said Dieter Zetsche, Chief of Mercedes-Benz Cars and Chairman of the Board of Management at Daimler AG.

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“Now we take the next step, and for the first time in our more than 100-year old history, we bring the production of Mercedes-Benz to France. With the compact EQ model from Hambach, we continue our electric initiative.” Set to offer a 249-mile range, Mercedes’ compact electric model is due to go on sale in 2020 and will be part of a wide range of EVs covering multiple segments under the automaker’s EQ sub-brand. Previewed as a concept at the 2016 Paris Auto Show, the first Mercedes EQ model will be arriving in 2019 in the form of the electric EQC crossover.

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