Mercedes-Benz unveils electric SUV to be built in Alabama

Mercedes-Benz unveils electric SUV to be built in Alabama
The EQS SUV will be the first all-electric vehicle to be produced on the Mercedes-Benz assembly line in Alabama. (Mercedes-Benz)

Mercedes-Benz has unveiled the EQS SUV, a luxury electric sport utility vehicle that will be built at the automaker’s assembly plant in Tuscaloosa County.

Coming on the heels of last month’s grand opening of its electric vehicle battery plant in Bibb County, Mercedes today gave its first undisguised look at the first vehicle to be built in Alabama powered by those batteries. The EQS SUV is expected to reach showrooms in the second half of this year and will be what Mercedes-Benz CEO Ola Källenius calls “the next iteration of our clear-cut strategy.”

Mercedes unveils new EQS SUV to be built in Alabama from Alabama NewsCenter on Vimeo.

Building on the success and the same platform of the EQS Sedan, the EQS SUV is nearly 8 inches higher and builds out a luxury interior that can seat up to seven passengers with an optional third row of seats. The EQS SUV will be available in two models: The EQS 450+ is a rear-wheel-drive version while the EQS 580 is an all-wheel-drive using the Mercedes 4Matic system.

“We will build the world’s most desirable electric cars,” Källenius said.

Mercedes said the EQS SUV will get up to 373 miles of range on a single charge with horsepower of 355 (EQS 450+) and 536 (EQS 580) and charging time as fast as 31 minutes (DC at fast-charging stations).

Closeup look at new Mercedes EQS SUV to be built in Alabama from Alabama NewsCenter on Vimeo.

Among the interior features is the Mercedes-Benz User Experience (MBUX) Hyperscreen, which is standard on the EQS 580 and is optional on the EQS 450+. The entire instrument panel is one ultimate widescreen. Three screens sit beneath a common cover glass and merge visually. The 12.3-inch OLED display for the front passenger gives them their own display and control area. MBUX High-End Rear Seat Entertainment Plus comprises two 11.6-inch displays with touch controls on the backrests of the driver and front passenger seats.

The Dolby Atmos sound system allows for individual instruments or voices of the studio mix to be placed all around the listening area to create a 360-degree experience.

Settings can be personalized for up to seven different profiles and stored in the cloud for other MBUX-equipped vehicles. Profiles can be accessed by PIN, fingerprint, face and voice recognition.

Mercedes has added a new feature known as the occupant presence reminder that can indicate if any children may have been overlooked in the rear of the vehicle.

The EQS SUV will join traditional Mercedes models GLE Coupe, GLE SUV, GLS SUV and the ultra-luxury Mercedes-Maybach GLS SUV being produced in Alabama. The automaker has adapted its assembly line system to allow for the varied products.

Mercedes’ Tuscaloosa County operation has produced around 4 million vehicles since 1997, and the company’s investment in Alabama tops $7 billion.

The automaker employs around 4,500 people within its Alabama manufacturing footprint and supports an estimated additional 11,000 jobs with suppliers and service providers in the region.

“Mercedes is leading the way globally in cutting-edge research and development of electric vehicles, and Alabama’s auto workers are playing a key role in this important effort,” said Greg Canfield, secretary of the Alabama Department of Commerce.

Pricing for the EQS SUV has not been announced, but industry reports have said buyers should expect pricing to start above $100,000.

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