More automation is boosting Zwickau output by 150 units a day

More automation is boosting Zwickau output by 150 units a day

Volkswagen said series production of its first dedicated EV - the ID.3 - will start at the Zwickau vehicle plant in November following its Frankfurt show debut next week.

The last robots are being installed and the assembly line is being commissioned.

First deliveries of this new generation of electric cars based on the automaker's Modular Electric Drive toolkit (MEB), will be made next summer.

Within three years, production of 33 models based on the MEB, across all group volume brands, will start.

"The production start of the ID.3 in November will usher in an entirely new era for Volkswagen – comparable with the first Beetle or the first Golf," said VW's e-mobility chief Thomas Ulbrich.

He added the first 400 pre-series are already on test routes throughout Europe while ID.3 production would make Zwickau a "pioneer of e-mobility".

Volkswagen has converted the plant from all internal combustion engine models to 100% EVs.

The changeover started at the beginning of 2018 and will be completed by the end of 2020.

The body shop and the paint shop are ready and the first of two final assembly lines has been completed.

Twelve entirely new buildings or parts of buildings are currently under construction.

The existing press shop has been extended and prepared for the new era at a cost of EUR75m.

Zwickau will be able to produce all key body parts for MEB vehicles on site from 2021.

The second assembly line at Zwickau will be modified from summer 2020 and be commissioned the same year.

Six MEB models will be produced at Zwickau for three group brands from 2021.

Production capacity will rise from 300,000 to 330,000 vehicles per year.

This will make Zwickau Europe's largest and most efficient electric vehicle plant, VW claims.

The automaker has allocated EUR1.2bn to redevelop the factory and has spent EUR800m so far.

Over the past few months, 1,600 production robots have been installed.

New technology, such as automated roof lining installation, will be used.

In future, Zwickau will be able to produce about 150 more cars per day as a result of the growing degree of automation – 1,500 instead of 1,350.

The workforce will remain "largely stable".

The 8,000 employees are learning how to handle high voltage, modern battery systems and electrical wiring safely and correctly.

So far, about 8,000 of the total of 13,000 training days required have already been completed.

About 2,500 employees have already been qualified for e-mobility.

VW claims over 30,000 of its new EVs have already been "reserved".

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