From Zwickau, the Volkswagen Group is embarking on its electromobility future. The traditional Saxon location is marking the beginning and creating a blueprint for many other plants.
Finally, the first production vehicles of the all-electric flagship ID.31 are rolling off the production line in Zwickau. As soon as production is fully ramped up, 1,500 cars will roll off the line here every day. From 2021, 330,000 purely electric “Made in Zwickau” vehicles will be produced every year. Up to six models are to be built at the traditional Saxon location; in addition to the ID.3 and other models of the ID. Family, vehicles from the sister brands Seat and Audi will also be built. The Volkswagen Group is investing a total of 1.2 billion euros in the ultra-modern plant in Saxony.
The plants in Emden and Hanover will also be converted into e-locations. Dresden and Mlada Boleslav are also planned as European electro-locations. Together with Zwickau, the plants will form the largest electric vehicle production network in EuropeIn parallel, two MEB plants are being built in China, which will start production in 2020. The first Volkswagen Group China factory specially designed for electric cars will start pre-series production of the ID.3 in Anting on November 8. There will be a second location in Foshan. In addition, the Volkswagen Group is investing 690 million euros in the Chattanooga plant (USA) to expand its production capacity.
After all, the Volkswagen brand alone wants to launch more than 20 pure e-models on the market by 2025. After the ID.3, further members of the ID. Family will go into series production: The SUV ID. CROZZ2, the successor to the Bulli, ID. BUZZ2 and the sedan, ID. VIZZION2. By 2023, the Volkswagen brand will be investing around nine billion euros in electric mobility.
The goals of the brand and the Group are ambitious. Volkswagen is committed to nothing less than the electric car for all. Over the next few years, the Group will be investing more than 34 billion euros in its e-marketing offensive. Up to three million pure electric cars per year are to be built and sold by 2025. The joint ventures in China will invest a further 15 billion euros in the coming years. The electric car should become attractive and affordable for as many people as possible all over the world.
50 pure e-models in the Group
Until 2028 almost 70 new, electrified models are to come onto the market across the Group, including 50 pure electric vehicles. The e-strategy is based on the modular electric drive matrix, or MEB for short. The technology platform created specifically for the electric car fully exploits the technical possibilities of e-mobility and guarantees high ranges, dynamic driving performance and a whole new level of digital networking. Design and interior can be flexibly designed with the MEB, from compact cars to SUVs and transport vehicles, everything is possible. This means that electric cars will be produced in large volumes for the first time. This is reflected in the price – electric mobility becomes affordable for everyone thanks to Volkswagen.
Battery system production starts in Brunswick
Now battery system production is gathering pace. On 8 November 2019, the newly built Hall 32 A will be formally inaugurated at the Volkswagen plant in Brunswick. The battery system for the ID.3 is manufactured in the roofed area, which is as big as nine football pitches. Around 2,000 units a day – up to 500,000 a year – will soon be manufactured and delivered to Zwickau, where the ID.3 is built.
The Brunswick site has been steadily developing its battery expertise since 2013, both in the development of complete systems and in production. Battery systems for current Volkswagen electric and hybrid vehicles, and for Scania and MAN trucks are produced among other systems at the Brunswick plant. Years of experience and know-how have also been incorporated into the latest battery system for the MEB (Modular Electric Toolkit).
The already manufactured MEB battery systems are currently being subjected to a hardness test lasting several weeks. The results are used for further development. “We are right in the middle of changing the site. On the one hand, we are working stringently on the productivity and cost-effectiveness of our components for conventional vehicles. On the other hand, we are in the start-up phase for MEB products. With efficiency, effectiveness and know-how we drive both strands to success,” says Werner Gose, Plant Manager Brunswick.
The MEB is not only the technical basis for all models of the ID. Family from Volkswagen, but also, together with the PPE (Premium Platform Electric), for many e-cars of other Group brands. By the year 2025, Audi intends to offer twelve models with pure electric drive in all major global markets and to generate around one third of its sales with electrified models. Audi has already launched its electrification offensive with the e-tron3.
The age of electric mobility has also begun for Porsche. The Stuttgart-based sports car manufacturer recently presented its first all-electric electric model, the Taycan. The Spanish subsidiary SEAT is also fully committed to e-mobility and will present six electric and plug-in hybrid models by the beginning of 2021. ŠKODA is similarly ushering in the era of electromobility: The Czech automobile manufacturer is planning up to ten electric models, including six pure electrically powered BEVs (Battery Electric Vehicles).
By 2028, up to 15 million MEB-based Group vehicles are to be produced worldwide, guaranteeing considerable economies of scale. And because the Group also makes its technologies available to other automobile manufacturers, there could even be many more MEB-based e-cars. Ford has announced that it will offer at least one pure battery electric vehicle in large numbers in Europe from 2023.
The future is electric, and Volkswagen has gotten the ball rolling with the production start of the ID.3 in Zwickau.
1 The vehicle is not yet for sale
3 Combined power consumption: 23.7 kWh/100km; combined CO2 emissions: 0 g/km; efficiency class: A+