Volkswagen will start production of the electric car ID 3 in Zwickau on Monday. The first pure mass production electric car of the Wolfsburg is probably the most important model of the group since the VW Golf. For with the ID 3, Volkswagen not only wants to leave the exhaust gas scandal behind, but also make the electric car suitable for mass production. The company is taking a rather high risk for this.
Volkswagen CEO Herbert Diess calls the start of production in Wolfsburg a "decisive moment" for the company. VW alone is investing around one billion in the conversion of the Zwickau plant from combustion engine production to the electric car factory. "This transformation to e-mobility does not happen overnight," says VW brand manager Ralf Brandstätter. "But we have now irrevocably embarked on this path."
While the other major manufacturers are not yet committed to a specific form of drive for the mobility turnaround, VW puts everything on the battery electric drive. For the car manufacturer wants to own information
- bring nearly 70 new electrified models to market by 2028
- gradually discontinue the development of combustion engines. From 2040 VW wants to sell then no cars with gasoline or diesel engine more
- be completely CO2-neutral from 2050 onwards - both in the production, operation and disposal of electric cars and throughout the Group's workforce
In Zwickau, therefore, about 100,000 electric vehicles will roll off the production line every year from 2020, and then one year later 330,000 will roll off the production line. Above all, Volkswagen wants to address the problem with the ID 3 that pure e-vehicles with a range suitable for everyday use have so far been too expensive for many consumers. In the entry-level version, the ID 3 costs less than 30,000 euros.
The new electric car drives on the so-called Modular Electrical Construction Kit (MEB), a uniform substructure consisting of engine, drive and battery of the electric car. In future, all well-known body shapes from Volkswagen will be based on this platform - from compact cars to SUVs to Bulli. For example, up to 33 new models will be built on the e-kit over the next three years. To date, VW has spent around 6.5 billion euros on the development of the MEB .
The overall goal of the Group is to stop emitting CO2 in a few decades. In order to make the entire life cycle of the e-cars completely CO2-free from production through use to disposal by 2050,
- At the headquarters in Wolfsburg, VW is currently converting the coal plant into a gas-fired power plant for a further 400 million euros
- VW wants to pay compensations for climate protection projects, such as afforestation of forests, for parts of the production that can not be completely carbon neutral. Even for customers who do not use green power to charge the e-cars, VW wants to consider compensation options
The ID 3 is the beginning of this new era of electro. By 2023, VW wants to invest about 30 billion in technological change, another 14 billion will flow into the network and assistance systems. Following Zwickau, Emden and Hanover as well as some sites in China and the USA will be converted to build the MEB. Battery systems and drives come from our own suppliers in Braunschweig and Kassel. And in Salzgitter VW will build a factory for its own battery cells with its Swedish partner Northvolt from next year.
VW goes with the definition of electric cars with battery storage a high risk. If, what is still completely unclear, but electric cars with fuel cell or vehicles with very different concepts, for example, plug-in hybrids with so-called e-fuels enforce, VW has gambled. If the bill from VW rises and the ID 3 becomes a successful model, then the Wolfsburg have a big lead over the other major manufacturers such as Mercedes or BMW. Although they are also working on new electric models there, at the same time they are still concentrating heavily on plug-in hybrids.
VW's future decides in Zwickau
VW could also benefit from selling the MEB kit to other manufacturers who do not have their own electric platform. With Ford, such cooperation already exists. For a first electric car, Ford has ordered 600,000 MEB kits at VW. Another model is currently being discussed with the American manufacturer. Also this step is rather unusual for VW and underlines the ambitious plan of the Wolfsburg. "This is a paradigm shift for us," said VW Strategy Director Michael Jost then after the announcement of the cooperation of VW and Ford.
The future of VW does not decide in Wolfsburg, but in Zwickau. According to VW, the first ID-3 models will be delivered to customers from the middle of next year. There is also criticism about the further planning of the ID series. So the electric SUV ID Crozz will be the next model in the series. Some observers are wondering about it - especially since the city SUV, with or without electric motor, currently rejects many people rejection. Whether the green change at VW is permanent and not the interest of the highest possible sales fails, so it remains to be seen.