Even in the coronavirus crisis, the Volkswagen brand is consistently moving ahead with the changeover of its plants to e-mobility in line with its plans. The conversion of the Emden plant has already started and the first electric cars are to roll off the production line therefrom 2022. Ralf Brandstätter, CEO of the Volkswagen brand, says: “With the conversion of our plant at Emden into a production location for electric vehicles, Volkswagen is forcing the pace of system change. All in all, the company will invest about €1 billion in the transformation of the factory. Emden will be developed into a cornerstone of our electric strategy.” Andreas Tostmann, Board Member responsible for Production and Logistics, said: “We are transforming Emden into one of the most advanced plants in our industry.” General Works Council Chairman Bernd Osterloh emphasized: “Our workforce in Emden has special ties with the plant. This has been confirmed by the recent personnel transfers. I am convinced that the Passat, Arteon and ID.4 will be a tremendous success for the team. This is a strong product mix for a strong location.”
Emden is to be the first plant in Lower Saxony where large volumes of electric vehicles will be produced. The new all-electric compact SUV ID.4 is to start production there in 2022 and will be followed by other all-electric models later. The production of the Passat sedan and estate, the Arteon and the new Shooting Brake will continue for a transitional period of several years. In the final stage of development, the plant will have a design production capacity of up to 300,000 electric vehicles per year.
The core of the conversion project is the construction of a new factory hall with an area of almost 50,000 square meters where only electric vehicles will be assembled. The press shop and body shop are also to be expanded by 23,000 square meters. The paint shop is to be modernized and a new “bi-color hall” with an area of 6,000 square meters is to be constructed for painting vehicle roofs black. The two-color paintwork is one of the trademarks of the ID. family. In addition, a new high-bay shelving unit and an automated small parts warehouse are planned. The buildings are expected to be completed by the summer of 2021. “We are converting a major automobile plant during production,” says plant manager Uwe Schwartz. “We are proud to be the first plant in Lower Saxony to produce both internal combustion and all-electric models. The workforce is performing outstandingly well.” The Works Council Chairman of the Emden plant, Manfred Wulff, said: “Thanks to a concept that is balanced in economic and personnel terms, we will be in a position to thrill customers throughout the world with electric cars from Emden. For the people of East Frisia, it is an honor and an obligation to play a key role in this development which will be so important for the future.”
Plant employees were already sensitized to electric vehicles for the production of the Passat GTE03. Since the fall of 2019, colleagues from Emden have been providing support for the installation of equipment and start of production at Zwickau and will then be able to use the expertise they have gained at Emden. Over the next few years, there is also to be a quality offensive for all employees of the plant. This will start with a one-day sensitization event on the topic of “Changeover to e-mobility” and will be completed with individual training near to the production line. All in all, employees at the plant will have completed far more than 60,000 days of training by the time production starts.
Volkswagen wants to become the world market leader in e-mobility. By 2025, the brand intends to launch more than 20 all-electric models and to help the electric car achieve its breakthrough. The ID.4 and ID.304 are milestones on the way to establishing a neutral carbon balance for the brand by 2050 – based on the goals of the Paris climate accord. By 2025, the carbon dioxide emissions of the Volkswagen fleet are already to be reduced by one third. Up to 2024, the brand is investing about €11 billion in e-mobility and is transforming a large number of plants. In Germany, the electric vehicles of the Volkswagen Group are to be produced at Zwickau, Emden, Hanover, Zuffenhausen, and Dresden. In other countries, electric cars will be manufactured at Mladá Boleslav, Chattanooga, Foshan, and Anting.