Mercedes-Benz celebrates milestone opening electric car battery plant
New facility just down the road from Vance plant
BIBB COUNTY, Ala, (WBRC) - Mercedes-Benz celebrated a significant milestone Tuesday when the company held a grand opening for their new electric car battery plant some 7 miles from the main production facility in Vance.
Company leaders have already hired 200 people and they say they’re not stopping there. By the time the battery plant is running full steam, a total of 600 will be employed.
The new battery plant is simply enormous, large enough to comfortably place 7 football fields inside. The gala included a visit by Alabama Governor Kay Ivey.
“The grand opening for Mercedes’ one billion - with a b - dollars investment,” Governor Ivey said.
What a ride it’s been for Mercedes-Benz. It started producing cars at the Vance plant in 1997 and rolled out 300,000 in 2017. Mercedes says it is now transitioning to electric cars with the aim of going totally electric by 2030.
“We’ll be the first production plant for automotive batteries in Alabama,” said Jorge Burzer of Mercedes-Benz.
A tour guide at the battery facility said it takes about a half-day to make just one battery module. From start to finish, the process involves going through 70 stations with multiple steps along the way. The three stages include the preparation, assembly and storage for the final product to be shipped out.
Mercedes has left quite a footprint in west Alabama.
“Nearly one out of eight people who are employed in Tuscaloosa County owe their job to Mercedes or a supplier,” said Tuscaloosa Mayor Maddox.
By the time those 600 employees come on board, company officials believe the plant will produce batteries in the six-figure range every year. So in short, the battery plant is up and running in west Alabama. The main production plant employs 4,700 people and is responsible for 10,000 indirect jobs in the way of suppliers.
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