Mercedes-Benz has announced that its EQ electric vehicle brand will expand to include all three of the company’s German production sites, with the Rastatt factory the latest to gain approval for EV production.
Rastatt’s existing product portfolio includes the A-Class, B-Class, and GLA, and will expand to include a future compact electric vehicle, likely to wear the EQA nameplate as part of Mercedes-Benz’ fledgling EQ sub-brand.
Mercedes-Benz claims that its highly flexible product architecture will allow internal combustion and EV vehicles to be built side-by-side on a regular production line without the need for extensive equipment changeovers.
No date has yet been given for the introduction of the EQA, however current improvement works at the plant, which is running near capacity already, include two new on-site body shops and a new staff training centre in preparation for the changeover to the next-generation compact range, due in 2018.
Mercedes-Benz has announced that the larger EQC will be its first production EV, set to arrive in 2019 and to be built at the company’s Bremen factory which currently produces the C-Class, GLC, SLC and SL. As many as 10 new electric passenger cars will be available by 2022 with Mercedes predicting as much as 25 percent of its sales will come from EVs by 2025.
Workers at the Rastatt plant will be no strangers to EV manufacturing, having previously assembled the limited-production B-Class Electric Drive, an EV variant of the current B-Class range built using a battery pack supplied by Tesla.
Australian-delivered A-Class, B-Class and GLA vehicles are currently sourced from Rastatt, with CLA production taking place in Kecskemet, Hungary.
2016 Mercedes-Benz Generation EQ Concept shown.