Mercedes-Benz on Friday announced plans to add production of a compact electric car at its plant in Hambach, France.
The plant is the home of the Smart brand and has more than a decade of experience building electric cars, specifically Smart's EQ ForTwo and EQ ForFour (previously Electric Drive).
The new model will be branded a Mercedes, marking the first time a vehicle wearing the three-pointed star will be sourced from France.
It will also be branded an EQ, suggesting it could be a production version of the EQA compact electric hatchback concept Mercedes rolled out at the 2017 Frankfurt auto show. The stylish concept featured a 60-kilowatt-hour battery and was said to be good for 250 miles of range.
To gear up the Hambach plant for the start of production of the compact electric car, Mercedes will invest approximately $588 million in the site. Among the upgrades will be a new body shop and surface treatment as well as expanded assembly facilities.
Mercedes hasn't said when the vehicle will arrive, though the automaker states it will have 10 electric cars on sale by 2022 ranging from compacts to large SUVs. The automaker also says it estimates that between 15 and 25 percent of its sales will be electric cars by 2025. Note, the 10 cars will also include models from Smart, which by 2020 will be a pure electric brand. Smart has already become a pure electric brand in the United States and Canada.
Mercedes' first EQ model will be the EQC small SUV. Similar in size to the GLC, with which it will share a platform, the EQC will have more than 70-kwh of battery capacity and a range of about 300 miles. It's due on sale in 2019.