Over the next five years the car manufacturer Volkswagen has plans to steer the company towards becoming Europe’s number one e-vehicle producer. A decision made last week by VW’s Supervisory Board will see an investment of 44 billion Euros into electric, self-driving and connected vehicles as well as mobility services like car sharing. This announcement adds another 10 billion Euros to the investment plans into e-vehicle development and production announced last November.

The core of the Company’s concept is to convert the existing plants in Emden, Zwickau and Hanover for electric car production. Work has already begun In Zwickau, where the plant will eventually have the capacity to turn out 330,000 e-cars annually. Production of VW’s new ID model is due to begin next year. The ID  will be VW’s ‘affordable’, zero-emission compact with a battery range of 550 kilometres, priced in the same ball-park as the Golf to set it against Tesla’s mass-market Model 3. By 2021, VW has plans for six models based on the MEB (Modular Electric Drive Modular System) to be produced there for three of its vehicle brand names. The aim is that production in Zwickau will be completely CO2-neutral.
According to VW, the move to e-car production will inevitably lead to some job losses. With only one moving part an electric motor is not only technically simpler than an internal combustion engine, but can also be built with less effort and with fewer personnel. An additional plant to be built in Eastern Europe is also planned for the year 2022.

An essential component of an electric vehicle is of course the battery and many German car makers are actively promoting and exploring the potential of large-scale battery production facilities within Europe to ensure independence from overseas suppliers.

VW also intends to invest more than 4 billion Euros in its electromobility partners based in China. By 2020, with a total of 30 different models, it is expected that China will have the largest range of electric cars on the market. By then the target is for 400,000 e-cars to be rolling off the production line annually, expected to increase to around 1.5 million vehicles per year by 2025.