The company says it wants to “make the electric car affordable for millions of people.”
The production of electric vehicles is about to get a major shot in the arm: the German automaker Volkswagen has announced that it will make 15 million EVs in the coming few years. That’s five times the current number of electric vehicles on roads worldwide.
Europe’s largest carmaker says that in just five years it expects to spend €44 billion on electric cars, digitalization, autonomous driving and new mobility services as it seeks to stake a dominant position in the production of EVs in what the company calls its “electric offensive.”
To that end, the German automaker, which manufactures several brands from Porsches to Audis, will make vehicles with different brands on the same production lines after converting three of its factories, including one at Zwickau, into manufacturing facilities for EVs. It might start producing its own electric car batteries.
“We want to ensure e-mobility becomes an established concept that is accessible to millions of people in the form of e-cars. This requires large quantities and efficient production,” Thomas Ulbrich, who is responsible for e-mobility at Volkswagen, said in a statement. “[W]e are consolidating the e-car production in Zwickau and transforming the factory into the nucleus of our extensive e-offensive.”
The Zwickau factory has a current capacity of 330,000 vehicles with internal combustion engines (ICE) per year. If it produces the same number of electric vehicles each year, its production capacity will almost rival that of Tesla, whose current annual production capacity is around 400,000 vehicles.
Legacy automakers like Volkswagen are increasingly eyeing the electric vehicle market, anticipating as they do a robust increase in consumer preference for electric vehicles. Volkswagen, whose name means “people’s car” in German, says it wants to transform the way people view electric vehicles: less as pricey luxury items than as affordable cars for people. It will do so by mass-producing electrified versions of such popular low-cost makes such as the Volkswagen Golf.
“We intend to take e-mobility out of its niche and to make the electric car affordable for millions of people. Efficient, modern production facilities will be the key,” Ulbrich said. “This is why we are bundling electric car production across the Group’s brands at Zwickau. In one year, this plant will become the starting point for our global electric offensive [which] will play a pioneering role for this future-oriented technology.”