Daimler is investing €500 million equal to $589 million in France to begin manufacturing an electric Mercedes Benz compact car that is in addition to its electric vehicles that are currently being produced there for its Smart brand.
It is planning to launch over 10 electric vehicles by 2022 for its Mercedes Benz cars as Tesla, its rival based in the U.S. struggles to increase its production of its Model 3.
The Smart plant located in Hambach, France will become part of the company’s global compact car network of productions with the lead plant located in the German city of Rastatt, said Markus Schaefer the production chief with Mercedes Benz.
Mercedes has adapted vehicle underpinnings so it can mass produce its electric variants on the same assembly line as the models that are gasoline combustion powered, diesel or hybrid, which allows the carmaker to increase its production quickly if there is a spike in demand, said a spokesperson with Daimler.
Currently Mercedes is making its compact A-class, B-class as well as GLA models at its plants in Rastatt, Beijing, Kecskemet, Hungary and Aguascalientes, Mexico with over 620,000 units made in 2017.
In contrasts, Tesla its rival maker of electric cars in the U.S delivered just 101,312 units in 2017.
During September of 2017, Concept EQA was presented by Mercedes Benz. The EQA is an electric car that has a range of approximately 400 kilometers between charges and is able to be recharged without the need of being plugged in.
Daimler said that it was adapting its plant in France to expand the assembly facilities it has and to reshape the infrastructure at the site to produce its first ever passenger car in France.
The annual capacity of production at its Hambach plant where Daimler is producing combustion engine and electric variants of its Smart two-seater vehicles, was over 80,000 cars in 2017.
Mercedes has already started to gear up to produce a sport utility vehicle that is fully electric known as the EQC, by 2019 in Bremen, Germany. It shares its underpinnings in production with the company’s GLC, its bestselling SUV.
In 2017, Mercedes sold over 805,000 of its SUVS, with its sales boosted primarily by the GLA and GLC models.