Change is happening as we speak.
The Mercedes-Benz EQS and the recently revealed AMG EQE are only the beginning of an extensive all-electric vehicle lineup from the German automaker. Both share the EVA2 electric vehicle architecture. Think of the EQE as a more compact EQS. In the not too distant future, SUV versions of both will arrive and will be assembled in Alabama. There's also a rumor of an all-electric G-Class in the works. Smaller models, such as the EQB, will further augment the EV lineup.
Mercedes is pursuing electrification at a significant pace and this leads to the subject of factories. Speaking to Reuters, the automaker's production chief, Joerg Burzer, confirmed that Mercedes aims to have factories exclusively building EVs by the second half of the decade.
At present, Mercedes' EVs are being built at factories also tasked with producing ICE models. What isn't likely to happen are the construction of new EV-only plants. "Building a whole new battery-electric vehicle factory takes time. We have taken another approach," Burzer said. "We will certainly have some lines producing only electric vehicles in the next few years... we also see whole factories switching to electric - that is a topic for the second half of the decade." Mercedes wants its factories to retain some level of ICE production capability in order to accommodate certain markets.
The EQE, unlike the flagship EQS, is expected to make up a significant bulk of Mercedes' EV sales. It'll be built at two factories, one in Germany and another in Beijing. "We are coming into a segment where we can deliver at far higher volumes," Burzer added.
It's a big bet on the carmaker's part. Last year, only 2.3 percent of its global sales consisted of EVs. Granted, there were fewer to choose from but Mercedes still has to prove to longtime customers that its new EVs are worth buying instead of, say, an E-Class, which is about the size of the EQE.
The plan is to have EVs and hybrids make up some 50 percent of sales starting in 2025. That might be doable considering last year's plug-in hybrid sales consisted of 11 percent of the automaker's global tally.