VW is building a new electronic car factory for two billion euros

VW is building a new electronic car factory for two billion euros

Dusseldorf Volkswagen acts like Tesla and is building a brand new electric car factory. VW is investing nearly two billion euros in the Warmenau district of Wolfsburg. The company wants to offer a new “Trinity” generation of electric vehicles in the factory from 2026. As the world’s second largest car repair company announced Friday, the management board has now approved the new building project.

“With Trinity and the new plant, we will set standards in the automotive industry and develop Wolfsburg as a beacon for modern and more efficient automotive production. This shows that economic transformation is possible in Germany as an industrial area,” said the company’s official. Volkswagen Ralf Brandstätter on management board decision VW had also examined the replacement of the Wolfsburg main plant, which had been built in the 1950s and 60s.

Eventually, however, the group chose a green field, that is, a completely new factory. For a new building, planned targets for higher productivity can be achieved more easily than in an existing factory, Volkswagen explains the decision. The head of the working council, Daniela Cavallo, spoke of a “historic decision” that VW headquarters would be a “group power center”.

The new factory site north of Wolfsburg is just one kilometer from the main factory where the raven is flying. Employees from today’s Volkswagen factory can switch to a new production site easily and without much extra effort. The VW group can return to existing infrastructure and does not require an additional factory fire brigade, for example.

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The future Trinity factory is expected to employ around 5,000 people. Volkswagen wants to produce about 250,000 electric cars there every year. Wolfsburg Automotive Company plans to begin construction work in the spring of 2023, two years of construction time has been calculated. That is exactly the same as when it took Tesla to its new factory in Grünheide near Berlin.

VW: After the construction of the Trinity factory, the main plant will be replaced

From 2026 onwards, the first “Trinity” electric models from Volkswagen will be released at the new factory. After that – perhaps in 2027 – VW wants to start transforming the existing main plant into electric cars. In this factory, combustion models are currently being produced in four production lines, mainly Golf and Tiguan.

According to Volkswagen, two of these four lines will be converted into power generation. The existing main factory will produce approximately 250,000 models of combustion engines and many electric vehicles annually by the year 2030. With the new factory, Wolfsburg would have an annual production of nearly 750,000 vehicles, the same as today.

The Brandstätter brand boss had already expressed earlier confidence that VW would compete with the new plant compared to competitors such as Tesla or Nio and Xpeng from China. Similar to Tesla, Volkswagen wants to achieve a production time of ten hours per car in a new factory, the group is currently more than double that.

With the new factory and subsequent replacement of the existing main plant, Volkswagen plans to significantly reduce the workforce of 13,000 workers in production in Wolfsburg. VW will however reduce the workload. The company had previously agreed with the work council on plans for partial retirement and early retirement. More job reduction programs should not be launched.

>> read here, where Volkswagen will continue to invest in the coming years

The decision to build a completely new building met with general approval among industry experts. “Current and future needs can be effectively implemented in the new factory,” said Stefan Bratzel, Professor at the Center for Automotive Management (CAM) at Bergisch Gladbach University for Applied Sciences.

Because of intense competition from new service providers such as Tesla, Volkswagen should not waste any more time and must implement new construction plans as soon as possible. Tesla has already started production of the original series in Grünheide and is now also getting approval to start production of the series.

In the view of the automotive professor, however, it is not enough for Volkswagen to build a new and highly productive factory in Wolfsburg. “The products made there must also be competitive,” said Bratzel. Volkswagen will go through a significant phase in the next four to five years. Then it will appear “if VW can maintain its strong position”. The Wolfsburg group has recently made many promises. But in the future, VW must also succeed in implementing it.

VW promises improvements in fast payment and software

Volkswagen also wants to make its cars more modern and better. Many of the current electronic formats from the group are based on what is known as the “MEB” platform (“electronic driving system”). From a technical point of view, this module system is more than five years old – and it is not competitive in all respects.

With future models of “Trinity”, Volkswagen wants to close the quality gaps that exist in fast charging. Volkswagen also promises major improvements in software in the coming years. The “Trinity” cars still do not need to be able to drive freely in all conditions and in all weather conditions. But cars should be ready to drive independently on Autobahn, for example.

With the “Trinity”, Volkswagen also plans to significantly reduce the range, which simplifies production and increases productivity. There are currently approximately ten million options for importing the current Golf variants. Such diverse varieties make production more expensive, for example, because of the extra storage of many different materials.

“We want to come up with 140 versions in the future,” said VW development director Thomas Ulbrich. Through wireless software updates “on the air”, VW can update cars at any time without calling them to a workshop. Where Volkswagen significantly reduces the number of variants in production, many privatization options remain through software.

In addition, Volkswagen wants to ensure that new cars come to market faster than before. Ulbrich announced that the development times of one model will be reduced from 54 months to 40. This creates a much larger variety of products.

More: Brand brand Brandstätter boss in VW investment plan: “This is a brand new way to manufacture a car”