German automaker names three factories where MEB platform vehicles will be produced
Volkswagen has become the second automaker in as many weeks to announce that it will be using existing factories to develop its future EVs.
The company appears to be following the example set by fellow German outfit Daimler. In an announcement on the 1st February, Mercedes-Benz production chief Markus Schaefer said that his company would be making the move in order to “significantly [limit] the required investment”.
Whilst Volkswagen already produces an all-electric e-Golf model, its focus over the next decade will be its Modular Electric Construction (MEB) platform designed to make EV production more flexible. The platform will go into production in 2019 with a view to reaching the market the following year.
According to a press release, the company’s plant in Zwickau, Saxony will be the first to be converted and is also expected to be a central location for hybrid production. In the following years, two other factories in Chemnitz and Wolfsburg will also be updated for MEB production
The ‘Transparent Factory’ in Dresden, which produces Volkswagen’s e-Golf model will also be updated. The latest model of e-Golf will be released in April and will reportedly have a 124 mile range and a 35.8kWh battery pack.
The first EVs expected to operate on the MEB platform are the Golf-based I.D. and the I.D. Microbus which is based on the classic Type 2 campervan. The I.D. should be on the market by 2020 and has a projected range of over 300 miles.
The announcements by both Volkswagen and Daimler are demonstrative of automakers’ increasing commitment to producing EVs, although in Volkswagen’s case the upgrades wont begin for another two years. The company has also expressed interest in a similar manoeuvre in the US, but has made no official announcements as of yet.