Mercedes-Benz and Alabama Power Work Together To Advance EV Production
As the car market transitions from gasoline-powered models to EVs, Alabama wants to ensure that its manufacturers aren’t falling behind, and a recent partnership with Mercedes-Benz could make this a possibility.
The University of Alabama, Alabama Power and the German automaker have recently decided to collaborate, as the institute’s board of trustees has approved the development of Alabama Mobility and Power Center. Its originators aim to be a leading research and development center to push growth in the field of electric vehicles.
This partnership couldn’t have come at a better time, as Mercedes-Ben has already made a commitment to using $1 billion to expand its EV production, and aims to start producing electric SUVs at its plant, in Tuscaloosa County, next year. Other car manufacturers in Alabama are in the process of making similar moves. The Heart of Dixie is third in the nation for car exports, with Alabama-produced vehicles making up $7.5 billion and parts exported in 2018.
According to Michael Goebel, president and CEO of Mercedes-Benz U.S. International, the company is on track to go fully electric by the end of the decade, as much as market conditions allow.
“Our location here in Alabama is among the Mercedes-Benz locations on three continents that next year will build electric vehicles and highly efficient battery systems,” Goebel said in a statement. “Our partnership with the University of Alabama and Alabama Power through the AMP Center is a collaboration that will help position Alabama to be a leader in electric vehicle innovation.”
UA President Stuart Bell said that the center was a “chance for the talented researchers at the University to support prominent industries in our state while growing opportunities for our students to apply their skills here after graduation.”
The AMP Center will be arranged by the academy’s Alabama Transportation Institute and be held in the Smart Communities and Innovation Building, which was revealed earlier this year. The center would accommodate faculty and staff experts backing private and government investment in new battery equipment, along with infrastructure to charge EVs.
It will also center on workforce development through a national training center, alliances with the car industry, and aim to work with Alabama’s other car manufacturers.
As part of this collaboration, Mercedes-Benz and Alabama Power will deliver in-kind support, personnel and employee consultation on projects. Students will also be provided with mentoring, intern, research and career opportunities.
“High-quality jobs are the key to helping Alabamians live better lives, and this targeted research center, focused on solving challenges and capitalizing on the opportunities facing our state’s automotive industry, is essential to driving our state’s economic growth,” Tony Smoke, senior vice president for marketing and economic development for Alabama Power, said.
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