Six VW Electric Models To Be Produced In Zwickau: 330,000 Annually

Volkswagen Zwickau will be one of the biggest electric car plants in the world.

Volkswagen Zwickau Volkswagen Zwickau

Volkswagen Group, since the summer of 2018 on, has been busy with the modernization of the production lines in Zwickau plant in Germany, which is set to become a massive all-electric car factory.

The German manufacturer says that through an investment of €1.2 billion wt ill switch the production from three conventional models to six all-electric, based on the new MEB-platform.

"Volkswagen is set to build the attractive, affordable e-car for everyone. An e-car for millions, not just for millionaires. To do so, the Volkswagen plant in Zwickau is currently being transformed into the first, largest, highest-performing – and most environmentally friendly – e-factory in Europe."

The first model will be the Volkswagen ID.3, followed by Seat's derivative. The six planned BEVs include also the Audi brand. Interestingly, Skoda was not mentioned.

Production of the ID.3 will start in late 2019. Together with other models, the production output will gradually increase to 330,000 per year from 2021 onwards.

Currently, the plant capacity is 1,350 cars per day (three ICE models), which will increase to 1,500 (six BEV models). Single platform and simplicity of electric cars allow VW to produce more in the same footprint with the same workforce. Producing just three BEVs would otherwise lead to layoffs we guess. Layoffs are probably inevitable though, because higher production in Zwickau means lower production will be needed somewhere else in Europe.

"The future fully electric models from Zwickau will be based on efficient, stable and sustainable production. The plant’s maximum capacity is being increased daily from today’s 1,350 to a future 1,500 vehicles. And since the Zwickau plant will also increase the number of models from three to six, employment at the site will remain stable – even though electric vehicles are less complicated to build.

The conversion was started in the summer of 2018 with the modernization of the production lines. Following the plant’s summer shutdown, the first of two assembly lines for ID. production will be given the green light in August. To this end, the body shop, paint shop, assembly and infrastructure have been extensively modernized and renewed. Among other things, the entire conveyor technology had to be modified for electric cars."

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From the “Racing Cardboard” to the ID.3 – CO2-free Volkswagen is set to build the attractive, affordable e-car for everyone. An e-car for millions, not just for millionaires. To do so, the Volkswagen plant in Zwickau is currently being transformed into the first, largest, highest-performing – and most environmentally friendly – e-factory in Europe. Already by the end of 2019, the first fully electric ID. models will be rolling off the production line at the Volkswagen plant in Zwickau, starting with the ID.3 . In the final stage, from 2021 onwards, 330,000 all-electric cars will be built per year. The employees here will then be manufacturing six models for three brands: Volkswagen, Audi and Seat. The Group is investing a total of 1.2 billion euros in the ultra-modern site in Saxony. During the GDR era, this was where the legendary Trabant 1.1, known as the “racing cardboard,” was built. Since the reopening of the Zwickau site in 1990, more than 5.5 million Volkswagen vehicles have left the factory, mainly the Volkswagen Golf, Golf Estate and Passat. The vehicle plant covers an area of over 1.8 million square meters (equivalent to 252 soccer fields), of which 1.4 million square meters have been built on. Until mid-2018, the Passat was produced here, and the Golf and Golf Estate are currently still being manufactured. Production of the ID.3 will begin in late autumn. The Golf Estate will continue to be produced in parallel until mid-2020. 1,500 vehicles to roll off the production line each day The future fully electric models from Zwickau will be based on efficient, stable and sustainable production. The plant’s maximum capacity is being increased daily from today’s 1,350 to a future 1,500 vehicles. And since the Zwickau plant will also increase the number of models from three to six, employment at the site will remain stable – even though electric vehicles are less complicated to build.The conversion was started in the summer of 2018 with the modernization of the production lines. Following the plant’s summer shutdown, the first of two assembly lines for ID. production will be given the green light in August. To this end, the body shop, paint shop, assembly and infrastructure have been extensively modernized and renewed. Among other things, the entire conveyor technology had to be modified for electric cars. The site’s second line will be converted in a similar way by the end of 2020 and will go into operation that same year. A total of 9,000 tons of steel will be newly installed there, 50,000 square meters of hall space will be constructed and 1,625 robots will be set up. 50 partner companies are helping with the conversion. Many of the previous systems will be reused, some of them at other Group sites. Ingolf Keller, Head of Utilities at the Zwickau site, has a precise overview of modernizations at the plant. What his many colleagues and external partners have been planning for months and will convert within a few years has one goal: to make production in Zwickau largely CO2-free. To achieve this, there were and are six major projects: Green electricity: The Zwickau plant is supplied with electricity by Volkswagen Kraftwerks GmbH. For a few years now, this company has been offering pure green electricity sourced from hydroelectric power plants, wind farms and solar parks. This green electricity is TÜV-certified. Even though it costs a little more, Volkswagen Sachsen (with the Zwickau, Dresden and Chemnitz sites) has been using this green electricity since April 2017. “It is completely CO2-neutral and supports our goal of becoming a ‘Think Blue Factory,’” Keller explains. The figures are impressive: by using green electricity the Zwickau site alone saves 106 tons of CO2 a year. This currently covers 50 percent of the electricity requirement. The other 50 percent is produced at Zwickau in the in-house combined heat and power plant. This is run on natural gas, which is significantly more climate-friendly than producing electricity with coal. The in-house power plant has another big advantage: it “incidentally” also covers 70 percent of the heating requirement for the Zwickau plant. “If we only used the gas for heating, we would not have this efficiency and we would have much higher CO2 emissions,” says Ingolf Keller. The halls which are being extended or newly built during the conversion are completely in line with the latest German energy saving ordinance (insulation, windows, construction cover). They minimize electricity, water and heat consumption depending on use. In addition, employees meet once a month to discuss how they can further reduce consumption. For example, the water cycle has been adjusted so that more water is recycled, meaning less fresh water is consumed. Another example concerns the hydraulic units, which are now shut down centrally over the weekend. This has been a success: the electricity consumption is now only 20 percent of that of a work day – a very good value for the entire Group. Natural gas is known to be one of the major consumers in the production process. During thermal post-combustion in the paint shop, the exhaust gas temperature is now optimized so that on the one hand it is still high enough for good quality, but on the other hand not too many pollutants are blown into the air, meaning less gas is consumed overall. New systems are now always equipped with what are known as frequency-regulated fans and pumps. While these are more expensive to purchase in comparison with the earlier three-phase motors, they regulate precisely according to need, which means that they only use the minimum amount of energy required. And finally, the numerous air compressors: they, too, have recently been energy optimized and thus significantly reduce CO2 emissions. “When all the conversion work is finished in 2020, we will aim to have our plant certified by the highly respected ‘German Society for Sustainable Construction,’” Keller explains. But even now, at the beginning of production of the ID.3 , the Zwickau plant is running almost CO2-neutrally. Keller says: “From now on, the natural gas which we are not yet obtaining from CO2-free sources will be offset by the purchase of certificates.” The aim is to purchase only CO2-neutral gas in the future. At the moment, however, this is not available on the market in sufficient quantities. If the supply increases in the next few years, the Zwickau plant will be completely CO2-free – even without certificates.
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