Mercedes puts focus on local assembly of EVs | The Financial Express

Mercedes puts focus on local assembly of EVs

Mercedes-Benz also sells the Rs 1 crore EQC in India, which is its first EV in the country, but the model remains a fully imported model.

Mercedes puts focus on local assembly of EVs
Mercedes-Benz EQS 580 luxury EV gets over 300 bookings in India

Mercedes-Benz, India’s largest luxury carmaker, has added itself to the growing list of companies taking the local assembly or manufacturing route to electrify their future product line-up.

The luxury brand’s 14th model in the country was the EQS, its first electric vehicle put together at its Chakan plant in Pune, from components imported from its home in Germany. This plant has also become the first plant outside Germany to produce the EQS.

The EQS is produced on the same assembly line at Chakan as rest of the company’s models. The battery pack comes from Germany which is then assembled into the vehicle at the facility. This operation has allowed the company to cut down hefty import taxes slapped on fully imported cars.

Mercedes-Benz India did not share the details about the level of localisation employed on the EQS. But a company official said the idea behind the company going for a local assembly for a luxury car priced at Rs 1.55 crore was not the cost factor but the option being agile in responding to consumer demand.

Also Read: 2022 Mercedes-Benz EQS 580 launched in India at Rs 1.55 crore

The Mercedes-Benz India plant has an installed capacity of 20,000 cars a year. This year it plans to make 16,000 units at the plant. The company said it will look at localising more EV products in the future. Though powertrain parts are fewer in an EV, they are complex machines with more electronics, software and connected systems.

Mercedes-Benz also sells the Rs 1 crore EQC in India, which is its first EV in the country, but the model remains a fully imported model.

However, Mercedes is not the only company to offer locally assembled products to Indian buyers. Swedish luxury car brand Volvo assembles the fully electric XC40 Recharge using the same line as its other models such as XC90 and XC40 at its Bengaluru plant. The XC40 Recharge has been sold out for the rest of the year.

BMW, the country’s second-largest luxury car brand, sells three fully electric models in India — two under its own brand and one under the Mini brand. While all the three are fully imported into India currently, plans are afoot to start local assembly operations. BMW will introduce as many as 23 EVs globally by 2023 and nearly half of those could make their way to India. Its India leadership team expects to generate at least 10% of the total India sales to come from electric vehicles by the end of next year.

Toyota-owned luxury car brand Lexus started local assembly of the ES 300h, a self-charging hybrid car, a few years ago. The Japanese brand is currently evaluating the introduction of its first fully electric car in India as well as running evaluation of assembling an EV in the country.

The Union government is pushing to make India a global hub for EVs, for which it has floated a number of incentive schemes for demand and supply generation, including a Rs 26,000-crore production-linked incentive (PLI) scheme.

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