In what is perhaps the clearest sign that German carmaker Volkswagen is not joking around when it comes to its plans of becoming the planet’s largest electric car producer, the group announced at the end of last week a major shift in the production plan of its factory in Zwickau, Germany
Having rolled its lines for the first time in 1990 for VW (the facility dates back to 1904, and was used by others as well, including Audi and Trabant), the site was mainly tasked with making the Volkswagen Golf (it also made Polos and Passats), and in the 30 years that have passed since, over 6 million units of the carmaker’s most successful car were produced there.
But no more. Last week, the last ICE-powered Golf rolled off the assembly lines. Starting this week, the facility will begin churning out electric vehicles only, starting of course with the ID.3.
For next year, the carmaker has a planned production output of 330,00 vehicles, as it will add production of electric cars made with the logos of Audi and SEAT as well. With this development, Zwickau is set to become Europe’s largest EV manufacturing hub.
“Zwickau is steeped in German automotive tradition. Our team has always delivered excellent performance and built vehicles with excellent quality,” said in a statement Jens Rothe, Chairman of the General Works Council at Volkswagen Sachsen.
“We have gained the trust in the Group to become the first location to start fully electric large-scale series production. The Zwickau plant is therefore well-equipped for the future.”
The ID.3 is the first electric car produced for the masses by an established carmaker, in much larger numbers than the Nissan Leaf. It is also a very diverse line of EVs, being offered with three battery options, providing a range between 330 km (205 miles) and 550 km (342 miles) on a single charge.
VW kicked off sales of the ID.3 with the 1st Edition, which is already being assembled in Zwickau. The ID.4 will enter production later this summer at the same facility.