Volkswagen announces two electric vehicle production sites in Germany
November 14, 2018
Volkswagen announced that it is changing two of its German car production sites into electric vehicle production plants. It claimed that by 2022 it will have “the largest network for the production of electric vehicles in Europe”.
The world’s largest car maker is under pressure from EU regulations that demand steep cuts to car emissions by 2030. It confirmed details already leaked to the media stating that Emden and Hanover would be part of its “electric offensive.”
“We are orienting the company towards clean mobility,” said chief executive Herbert Diess. The decision has yet to be ratified by VW’s supervisory board. Importantly, it already has the blessing of VW’s powerful labour unions.
Manfred Wulff, the works council chairman for Emden, said: “The automotive industry and Volkswagen are undergoing the greatest transformation in their history and the Emden plant is at the forefront.”
Gunnar Kilian, VW’s top HR official, said the agreement includes an “employment guarantee” of up to 2028 for the two sites. VW hopes that it can reduce headcount through natural attrition. “Fewer production steps are involved in making an electric vehicle, so we will need fewer employees in the final resort,” he said. “We have therefore agreed with the Works Councils that the current employment volume will be adapted in a socially compatible way along the demographic curve via the attractive partial early retirement scheme of Volkswagen.”
Prior to this decision, only VW’s plant in Zwickau, Saxony, was set for electric vehicle production. It will be home to the ID Neo, a long-range electric hatchback to go on sale late next year. However VW has not yet confirmed that the Emden plant will be home to an entry-level electric vehicle costing less than €20,000. Insiders with knowledge of the plan said it is among the decisions the board will take on Friday. Additionally it did say that the ID Buzz, an electric minibus, “will probably be produced” in Hanover from 2022 alongside combustion engine commercial vehicles.