Mercedes-Benz is converting one of its biggest production plants in Sindelfingen, near Stuttgart, into a facility for developing premium plug-in electric cars as it moves towards its ambitious aim of building a 10-model fully electric car range by 2025.
“The Sindelfingen site plays an important role in the electric offensive of Mercedes-Benz Cars and is being advanced into a competence center for EV of the upper range and luxury class,” said Markus Schäfer, Member of the Divisional Board of Mercedes-Benz Cars, Production and Supply Chain Management.
The announcement was one of several points raised during its annual press conference this week designed to underline the firm’s commitment to zero-emissions mobility and in playing a defining role in the technology’s development as a replacement for the traditional gasoline-powered car.
“As the inventor of the automobile, we aim to play a major role in shaping the future of mobility from a position of strength, and to occupy a leading position in the industry,” said company chairman Dr. Dieter Zetsche.
It aims to do this by launching an entirely new EQ range of models that will cover everything from city cars to SUVs.
Real-world, on-road testing of the battery-powered cars is already underway and the first EQ-branded Mercedes-Benz is expected to arrive in showrooms in 2019.
And, by 2025 the company is certain that it will have 10 plug-in electric cars on sale and believes that the only barrier to its EV range making up 25 per cent of its total car sales by that point will be the state of the wider charging infrastructure.
As for 2017, the company is getting ready to launch a heavily updated S-Class flagship luxury sedan which will, in the company’s words “Strengthen its leading position in the field of automated driving and connectivity.”
Mercedes is already a world leader in the field of active safety and semi-autonomous driving systems and as such, each new iteration of the S Class should be seen as the benchmark in terms of mainstream luxury motoring and what is currently possible in terms of technological innovation.
This year will also see the launch of yet another E Class variant. After the sedan, estate, coupé and crossover-styled All-Terrain model, the company will be launching the E Class Cabriolet in June. This will bring the company’s range of convertibles up to a staggering six individual models. What’s more it will be launching at a time when many other marques are cutting back on soft-tops.
However, Mercedes set an annual sales record of 3 million vehicles for 2016, so it clearly understands what the market wants.