Volkswagen will be investing a total of 44 billion euros in future technologies by 2023 with about 3/4 of the money reserved for e-mobility alone. In accordance with the Boards latest priority, VW now confirmed their facilities in Emden and Hanover as new EV plants that will utilise the MEB platform.
According to their statement, Volkswagen plans to fully convert the factory in Emden to produce MEB platform vehicles, with production of such electric cars slated to started in 2022. This will include both compact cars as well as sedans for multiple brands, specified the VW supervisory board, which issued the decision today. Hanover will be home to the production of the I.D. Buzz electric vehicle family, as well as some combustion models.
While this is good news, it is also a move that has been overdue. Volkswagen has gotten into a position where the upgrades are necessary. For Emden in particular, the vehicle production capacity was supposed to stand at 250,000 vehicles this year, but is looking like it will fall about 20,000 vehicles short. This has resulted in longer holiday periods for workers and short term projects. In order to put the 9,000 employees and full capacity of the factory back to work, new models are needed. The hope here is that electric cars will fill this gap. The Passat vehicle family, which is currently being manufactured in Emden, will be moved to the Czech Škoda factory in Kvasiny. For both Emden and Hanover, a ten year employment assurance has been made, which means that employees cannot be fired for operational reasons during the period.
In other long term plans, the VW supervisory board agreed to invest 44 billion euros in the future technologies e-mobility, autonomous driving, new mobility services and digitalisation of vehicles and factories by the end of 2023. This would make for about a third of the total costs for the company in the 2019-2023 period, according to Volkswagen. The majority of the money will go to facilities, products and research, with 30 of the 44 billion euros going towards electric mobility projects specifically. CEO Herbert Diess spoke of increasing the speed of innovation in this context.
The company also added the goal of increasing their productivity by 30% by 2025. At the same time, they plan to reduce emissions from the factories by about half. They also plan to bundle their production competencies for “synergy effects from the potential to lower costs or increase performance via scales.”
During the press conference where the plans were announced, VW also confirmed that they were checking the possibility of entering mass production of battery cells, with SK Innovation as the potential partner.
No news was added by the spokesperson about the Polo-sized BEV for under €20,000, which has still not been confirmed, solidly relegating the electric vehicle to the realm of rumours.