Mercedes-Benz Group announced March 15 that Japan-based battery technology giant Envision AESC would supply it with vehicle batteries from a new U.S. plant starting mid-decade.
Mercedes is putting together the pieces it needs to launch electric vehicle production at its 6-million-square-foot assembly plant in Vance, Ala., 40 miles southwest of Birmingham.
U.S. production of the electric EQS SUV should begin in June, while assembly of the EQE crossover will start next October, according to AutoForecast Solutions. Once production ramps up, the factory is expected to churn out 6,000 EVs a month.
Mercedes did not disclose the location or production capacity of Envision's new U.S. factory. But it will be fundamental to Mercedes' EV manufacturing in this key market.
"Envision AESC will be a major supplier securing capacity for the next generations of our Mercedes-EQ products built in the U.S. in the years to come," Mercedes-Benz Chief Technology Officer Markus Schaefer said in a statement. "This new cooperation ... allows us to secure supplies, to take advantage of economies of scale and to provide our customers with superior battery technology."
Envision also supplies batteries for Nissan's U.S.-made Leaf hatchback from a plant in Smyrna, Tenn. That factory was initially built and owned by Nissan, with plans to supply as many as 150,000 vehicles a year. But Nissan's early plans for EV adoption did not materialize.
AutoForecast estimates that the Smyrna battery plant can supply 30,000 to 50,000 battery packs.
China's Envision Group acquired an 80 percent interest in the battery technology company in 2018, but Nissan retains a 20 percent stake and it remains headquartered in Yokohama, Japan.