Daimler AG has announced plans for a $1 billion expansion at its assembly plant outside Tuscaloosa, Ala. The expansion will add capacity at the plant to produce future electric SUVs, including the production of the batteries that will power them.
The Wall Street Journal first reported the news this morning, which Daimler AG confirmed through a spokeswoman, who also stated the officially announcement is slated for this afternoon.
So far Daimler has offered few details on the planned expansion, other than confirmed the electric SUVs will be for the Mercedes-Benz brand. Prior to today’s announcement, the company has only confirmed electric vehicle production at three of its German assembly plants. Daimler executives have previously stated the company is willing to build electric vehicles at any assembly plant housed within a local market to justify it.
Although it is unclear which SUV models the expanded Alabama plant will produce, Mercedes-Benz is preparing a major assault of new battery-electric models under its new EQ sub-brand. Parent company Daimler has confirmed it plans to rollout 50 electrified models by the year 2022. One of its first fully-electric EQ models was recently previewed at the Frankfurt Motor Show.
It is unclear if today’s $1 billion investment into the Tuscaloosa plant is part of a $1.3 billion investment the company announced in 2015. At the time, Daimler stated that investment was to expand the plant for SUV production. The conclusion of that expansion was to occur in mid-2017.
Today the plant assembles the Mercedes-Benz GLE, GLS and some variants of the C-Class.