The last vehicle with a combustion engine rolled off the assembly line at the VW plant in Zwickau. The Volkswagen plant in Saxony will only produce electric cars here in future, starting with the VW ID.3.
After no less than 116 years of producing combustion engine vehicles, Volkswagen’s Zwickau plant is now exclusively devoted to electric cars based on the MEB platform. The last car running on fossil fuels to leave production lines today and forever at Zwickau was a Golf R Estate with a 2.0-litre petrol engine.
Reinhard de Vries, Managing Director of Technology and Logistics at Volkswagen Saxony: “Today is a historic day for us. We are proud of what we have achieved so far, and at the same time are greatly looking forward to what the future holds for us. The trend towards electric mobility will continue to pick up speed. We will meet this demand from Zwickau: we have already created the capacity to build 330,000 vehicles next year.”
VW has already converted part of the plant in Zwickau to the production of MEB electric vehicles, and production of the ID.3 has been running since November 2019 (apart from the Corona-related interruption). The work here is ongoing: In May 2020 the first of five press heads of a new large press was delivered to Zwickau. In future, the plant will produce almost all body parts itself.
The ID.3 is the first MEB model from the Saxon plant. With the conversion of the production line still used for Golf Estate, the capacity for electric cars can now increase. Production of the ID.4 is to start in Zwickau this summer. Besides, VW will build electric vehicles for other Group brands here, namely the Audi Q4 e-tron and also the Seat el-Born. Only Škoda is planning a special route for its MEB electric Enyaq: Škoda’s main plant in Mladá Boleslav will build the e-SUV from the end of 2020 on the same line as MQB models.
Now the factory is gearing up for the final stage of expansion which by 2021, will see six MEB models for the three Group brands mentioned above coming off the lines. Volkswagen is undertaking qualification programmes for all 8,000 employees to prepare them for the production of electric cars. According to VW, by the end of 2020, the Zwickau team will have completed 20,500 days of training.
Since Volkswagen took over the Zwickau plant in the 1990s, more than six million cars have been produced there. However, the future starts at smaller capacities, VW has made around 10,000 ID.3 in Zwickau to date.
Additional reporting by Nora Manthey.