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Mercedes-Benz confirms plans for 'EQ' electric car sub-brand

When it unveiled the Generation EQ electric SUV concept at the 2016 Paris Motor Show last month, Mercedes-Benz said the concept previewed the first of many upcoming electric cars. Now, the automaker has more details on its electrification plans.

An electric SUV based on the Generation EQ will be built at an existing Mercedes plant in Bremen, Germany, the company announced Thursday. EQ will become a new sub-brand for electric cars, just like BMW’s “i” division. Mercedes aims to have more than 10 all-electric cars in its lineup by 2025.

The Generation EQ concept is an SUV with coupe-like styling and an “electro look” design language that Mercedes said will be used on all of its upcoming electric cars. The concept has a claimed range of 500 kilometers (310 miles), and rides on a new platform designed specifically for electric cars. Mercedes says this platform is flexible enough to be used for everything from SUVs to convertibles.

The Bremen plant that will build Mercedes’ first EQ electric car currently builds 10 different models, including plug-in hybrid versions of the C-Class sedan and GLC-Class SUV. It will also build the GLC F-Cell hydrogen fuel-cell model unveiled earlier this year. Clearly, Bremen has green cars covered.

Batteries for the Mercedes EQ electric SUV will be made by Accumotive, a subsidiary of Mercedes parent Daimler. The company will spend 500 million euros (about $545 million) on a new battery plant to support Mercedes’ ambitious electric-car plans. The plant will also manufacture cells for stationary energy storage battery packs, which will be Mercedes’ answer to Tesla’s Powerwall units.

While Mercedes was eager to discuss where its electric SUV will be built, it was less forthcoming on when. A September Reuters report said parent Daimler will launch six electric cars across multiple brands (it also owns Smart, Maybach, and several commercial vehicle brands) beginning in 2018, so perhaps we’ll see the Mercedes model then.