Volvo Cars will build electric cars in Slovakia at a new factory designed to manufacture up to 250,000 all-electric vehicles per year. Construction is scheduled to begin in 2023, with series production starting in 2026.
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The Geely-owned Sweedish manufacturer is investing around 1.2 billion euros in the plant in eastern Slovakia, and notes that around 20 per cent could be financed by government subsidies.
The operation of the new site is to be climate-neutral. Volvo has not yet revealed which models will roll off the production line, which it says it benefits from a well-established automotive supply chain at the Slovakian location. This plant will be the company’s fifth car plant in the country.
The construction of the Kosice plant is reportedly the first new European production site for Volvo Cars in almost 60 years. Headquarters, product development, marketing and administration are mainly located in Gothenburg, Sweden. A production plant is also located there, along with others in Ghent (Belgium), South Carolina (USA), Chengdu, Daqing and Taizhou (China). The company also has research and development and design centres in Gothenburg, Camarillo (USA) and Shanghai (China).
With the new plant, the company sees itself “well-positioned to meet its customers’ continued demand for electric cars and to exploit future growth potential”, Volvo Cars writes in its statement. The Swedish company aim to become fully electric by 2030 and carbon neutral by 2040.
“We have a clear focus on becoming a pure electric mobility brand by 2030, which is in line with our purpose,” said Jim Rowan, chief executive at Volvo Cars. “Expansion in Europe, our largest sales region, is crucial to our shift to electrification and continued growth.”
In February this year, Volvo Cars invested ten billion Swedish kronor (around 960 million euros) in its Torslanda plant near Gothenburg in the coming years to prepare it for the production of the next generation of fully electric cars.
Just a few days ago, Volvo Cars reportedly reshuffled its leadership team. This was precipitated by the retirement of the previous deputy, Lex Kerssemakers, who is retiring soon after 38 years at Volvo. At the same time, Volvo also wants to adjust leadership responsibilities in order to achieve its own ambitions for growth and sustainability.
Update 12 July 2022
After Volvo Cars announced the construction of a new electric car plant in Slovakia a few days ago, more details are filtering through. As Geert Bruyneel, head of global production at Volvo Cars, explained to Automotive News, electric cars will be built at the plant near Kosice from 2026 onwards on the basis of an advanced version of the SPA2 platform. The Scalable Product Architecture 2 is a purely electric platform, in contrast to the SPA used since 2014.
He did not name specific models, but it is known that the all-electric Volvo XC90 and Polestar 3 will use the SPA2 platform. US production of these two models will reportedly be based at the Ridgeville plant in the state of South Carolina.
It is possible that European production of these two models will be in Slovakia. If the XC90 successor and the Polestar 3 are produced exclusively in the USA for the world markets, Slovakia could, for example, build the electric successor to Volvo’s best-selling XC60. This model had been confirmed by Volvo Cars as part of the announcement of the battery joint venture with Northvolt – but it is not yet clear where it will be built. But it too could be built at plants in South Carolina and Slovakia.
Asked whether Volvo plans to also locate battery or e-motor production at the Slovakian plant, Bruyneel explained that these decisions have yet to be made.
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