Series production of the all-electric Mercedes EQB has started at the Mercedes-Benz plant in Kecskemét, Hungary. The EQB, which was presented in April, is manufactured there for the world markets – only the China-specific version is built by the joint venture BBAC in Beijing.
The EQB is known to be an electric SUV with up to seven seats. At 4.68 metres long, the angular EQB is only eight centimetres shorter than the EQC, but a full 22 centimetres longer than the EQA. Technically, however, the EQB is more closely related to the EQA; both are based on Mercedes’ compact car platform, while the EQC, as is well known, is built on the GLC combustion engine model and thus uses the larger rear-wheel drive platform.
The compact platform is also important in the now started series production – more precisely in the choice of factory. The combustion engine model GLB, from which the EQB was derived, is built at the Aguascalientes plant in Mexico for the world markets. The CLA, CLA Shooting Brake and A-Class, on the other hand, are manufactured in Kecskemét. Since these three models are based on the same platform, the EQB can also be built in Kecskemét.
The Mercedes-Benz “compact car production network” comprises the lead plant in Rastatt (where the EQA is built), the Chinese production site BBAC in Beijing, the contract manufacturer Valmet Automotive in Uusikaupunki, Finland, the former Smart plant in Hambach, France, until it was sold to Ineos, and the aforementioned sites in Hungary and Mexico. The models can be distributed relatively flexibly between these plants.
The electric SUV is the first electric car from Hungarian production. Audi does manufacture electric motors at the Györ site – for the e-tron quattro, for example – but does not (yet) build electric cars there.
Hungarian Foreign and Trade Minister Péter Szijjártó was also present at the event to mark the start of series production. He indicated that the Hungarian state had provided 15 billion forints (about 42 million euros) in support of the 50 billion forint (equivalent to about 136 million euros) investment in the plant. “Countries that win the competition for investments in electromobility win the future,” Szijjártó said.
Prices for the EQB are not yet known, but the first vehicles are to be delivered to European customers this year.
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