Volkswagen electric car factory in Europe begins operations
Volkswagen is officially starting series production of the ID.3 beginning this week. The first car in the company's new generation of electric vehicles (EVs)—a white ID.3—rolled off the assembly line watched by Federal Chancellor Dr. Angela Merkel and Group CEO Dr. Herbert Diess.
The Volkswagen Group plans to sell some 22 million EVs worldwide by 2028. The company says that Zwickau has a key role to play in this endeavor: This large car manufacturing plant is being entirely converted to e-mobility, with investments running at €1.2 billion. Zwickau is already scheduled to produce some 100,000 electric models next year. From 2021, up to 330,000 EVs are expected to leave the assembly line each year, making the site the largest and most efficient EV factory in Europe, according to Volkswagen.
“The ID.3 will make an important contribution to the breakthrough of e-mobility. It makes clean individual mobility accessible to millions of people and is a milestone for our company on the road to becoming climate-neutral by 2050,” Group CEO Herbert Diess said at the ceremony in Zwickau.
The ID.3 is based on Volkswagen’s Modular Electric Drive Toolkit (MEB). This is an all-electric platform aimed at fully leveraging the opportunities offered by e-mobility. The ID.3 is designed to have a long range, a spacious interior, and dynamic vehicle handling. The basic version is priced at under €30,000 in Germany. The ID.3 will be launched almost simultaneously on markets throughout Europe in summer 2020. Over 35,000 international customers have reportedly already reserved an ID.3 and paid a pre-booking deposit.
Volkswagen also claims that the ID.3 "sets new benchmarks in sustainability." Production is said to be carbon-neutral, which means the car is delivered to customers with a carbon-neutral footprint. Green power is exclusively used in energy-intensive battery cell production for the ID.3. Emissions from the entire production process that are currently unavoidable are offset, among other things through investments in the “Katingan Mataya Forest Protection” climate project on the Indonesian island of Borneo.
In the final expansion stage from 2021, six MEB models from three Group brands will be built in Zwickau.
“The ID.3 is a high-tech car from a high-tech factory. With some 1,700 robots, driverless transport systems, and fully automated manufacturing processes, Zwickau gives a contemporary insight into the shape of forward-looking high-volume production of EVs,” Thomas Ulbrich, Volkswagen brand Board Member for e-mobility, said. “Ultimately, though, it is the people who build the cars who are the key to success: Our team in Saxony mastered the two-year conversion phase culminating in today’s SOP with much know-how and dedication. An outstanding team achievement!”