Volkswagen is expanding its electric vehicles production network by launching an all-electric site in Emden, Germany. The company has invested around €1 billion in converting the Emden plant to this purpose, which is now the company’s second German site for electric vehicles (the first in Zickau) and the fourth globally, following Chinese sites in Anting and Foshan.
The company stated that EV production will also commence this year in Chattanooga, Tennessee, USA, and Hanover, Germany, creating the conditions to build 1.2 million all-electric vehicles a year across its global sites.
“Rapid expansion of production capacities for our successful ID.4 model is a key component of our ACCELERATE strategy. It helps us accelerate the transformation to zero-carbon mobility and create further capacities to meet the high demand for electric vehicles,” stated Ralf Brandstätter, CEO. “With our clear commitment to the site, we aim to show that cost-effectiveness and competitiveness are not only possible in the region, but that we can even enhance them lastingly.”
Volkswagen has stated its intention to make Lower Saxony the German centre for electric mobility, with the group intending to invest a total of €21 billion in Lower Saxony up to 2026.
Alongside the ID.4, Emden is expected to make the AERO B03 next year. In addition, production of the ID. Buzz04 will commence this year at Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles in Hanover. It is scheduled to be joined from 2023 on by the ID.3 made in Wolfsburg, while a further electric vehicle – the Trinity05 – is expected to roll off the assembly line at the location starting in 2026.
The Group is also investing in Braunschweig, Salzgitter and Kassel, among other things in further expansion of the existing MEB production of battery systems, rotors/stators and electric motors. The Salzgitter location is being expanded further into a European battery hub.
“The consistent expansion of the production network is key for the success of our global electric offensive,” stated Christian Vollmer, member of the Volkswagen brand board of management responsible for production and logistic. “With the knowledge and experience gained in Emden, we will be able to drive the transformation of other plants quickly and efficiently. Innovative production concepts and highly qualified teams form the basis for this approach. This is how we forge ahead with our ACCELERATE strategy – worldwide, in Germany and right here, in Lower Saxony.”
The production of the ID.4 electric SUV is said to be on schedule, despite the global challenges during the two-year conversion phase. Emden’s maximum production capacity at the end of 2022 is expected to be 800 units per working day, depending on the supply situation.
Six new production halls and five new conveyor bridges and logistics buildings over a total area of some 125,000 m2 have been created as part of the plant’s conversion. A foundation for transformation is the qualification concept at Emden, which comprises training near to the production line and virtual training, as well as sharing of knowledge and experience with Volkswagen’s Zwickau site. More than 400 employees from Emden have been assigned to Zwickau since early 2020 in order to prepare for producing electric vehicles.
The ID.4 is now produced at the Emden & Zwickau sites and at the Anting and Foshan plants in China. And expansion continues: Production for the U.S. market will start in Chattanooga in the fall. The global production network will then grow to five locations.
Following its market launch in early 2021, the ID.4 has become a success: In the first quarter of 2022, Volkswagen delivered more than 30,000 units. 163,000 units have been delivered since its launch, making the ID.4 the Volkswagen brand’s and the Group’s best-selling e-vehicle. In many markets, the electric SUV jumped to the top of the sales charts in its very first year and was the best-selling all-electric vehicle in countries such as Denmark, Finland, Ireland or Sweden. There are currently around 73,000 orders on hand worldwide for the successful model.
“Start of production of the first all-electric model at the site is an unparalleled milestone for the whole Emden team,” stated Uwe Schwartz, manager of the Emden plant. “We have prepared intensively to make the ID.4 in the past two years and have eagerly awaited this day. Seeing the ID.4 now come off the line in Emden fills us with pride. We’re proud that Emden is doing its bit to accelerate Volkswagen’s electrification strategy. With this magnificent team performance, we will continue and grow our long and successful tradition of production here.”
In the Summer 2022 issue of Powder Metallurgy Review magazine, EV journalist Alex Voigt compared Tesla’s approach to that of traditional automakers, and asks whether the PM industry should keep its focus on those companies that have traditionally led the auto industry, or whether it is new relationships with flexible, innovative startups that will safeguard the future of Powder Metallurgy as a supplier to the automotive industry. Read the full article here.