Volkswagen drives forward the electrification of its European plants
Volkswagen expects one in four vehicles sold will have a battery-electric drive system by 2026
Within the framework of Planning Round 70, the Volkswagen Group has announced plans to further electrify its European plants in pursuit of its goal of becoming a global market leader in electric mobility by 2025.
As a result, the Group is driving forward the implementation of its ‘New Auto’ strategy. The Group headquarters and manufacturing site in Wolfsburg will be transformed and the Group’s competitiveness boosted through higher spending on future technologies.
The future-oriented investments, which will be primarily in electric mobility and digitalisation, will account for the largest proportion of total investments of €159 billion (£75.7 billion/$179 billion) for the first time, at 56 percent or €89 billion (£135 billion/$100 billion).
Volkswagen expects that by 2026 one in four vehicles sold will have a battery-electric drive system. This is a huge step forwards in the transition to zero emission vehicles and good to see that Volkswagen are leading the way in helping this to happen.
Hans Dieter Pötsch, Volkswagen chairman of the supervisory board, said: “The resolutions passed show how resolutely we are driving forward the transformation of the Volkswagen Group. Our investments will be focused on the future of mobility in all its key aspects and on systematically implementing the Group’s strategy.
“Our exceedingly robust and solid financial base, enables us to finance the necessary investments on our own. We are also therefore very confident that these investment decisions will steer the Volkswagen Group to future success.”
In comprehensively electrifying its European plants, the Volkswagen Group intends to generate additional synergies and take advantage of economies of scale. The Group will invest around €21 billion (£17.9 billion/$23.7 billion) at its plants in Lower Saxony alone, most of which will be channelled into manufacturing sites and components facilities.
In the medium term, Hanover will go all-electric, starting a modernisation of the site. The Group’s currently most important forward-looking project will be set up in Hanover, where the first Artemis vehicle will be produced.
Body manufacturing for a new Bentley model has also been another vehicle derivative, the ID. California, has likewise been approved for the site. In addition, Hanover will spearhead autonomous driving in the Group with the MOIA ride sharing shuttles and the ID. BUZZ AD1.
Electrification of the Wolfsburg plant through Project Trinity has also been confirmed. Given the strong demand for electric vehicles, the Group also plans to re-equip the site for full production of the three from 2024, ensuring profitability with a site package.
Before 2024, partial production with supplies from Zwickau is envisaged. This plan will allow the Group to service additional market volumes that Zwickau alone would be unable to handle due to the good long-term capacity utilisation forecasts.
The German component plants will continue the transformation to emobility they initiated in. Along with hardware for charging infrastructure, the Hanover plant will also produce axles for MEB electric platform models.
In Braunschweig, Salzgitter and Kassel, the Group will invest in expanding the existing MEB production of battery systems, rotors/stators and electric motors. In addition, the plants are already preparing to manufacture key components of the SSP platform. Volkswagen is thus taking the next step in its strategic development into a key provider of electric modules and platforms.
The Salzgitter site will be further expanded into a European battery hub. The Group will invest around €2 billion (£1.7 billion/$2.25 billion) to produce Volkswagen’s unified cell for the volume segment at its gigafactory in Lower Saxony from 2025.
Development, planning and control of the battery production will also be brought together. The Supervisory Board also approved the establishment of a European company that will combine all of the Group’s battery-related activities and facilitate third-party involvement in the future. The new company will also oversee the strategic partnerships with Umicore, 24M and Vulcan Energy.
Stephan Weil, Minister President of the State of Lower Saxony and supervisory board member of Volkswagen AG, said: “89 billion euros over the next five years in future technologies such as electromobility and digitisation alone - that is a clear commitment.
“This is how the NEW AUTO strategy can be a great success. The fact that 21 billion euros are being invested in the Lower Saxony sites in Wolfsburg, Hanover, Braunschweig, Salzgitter, Osnabrück and Emden is yet another sign that the global Volkswagen Group is committed to its Lower Saxony roots. We are pleased about this strong signal to safeguard around 130,000 jobs.”
The Group is also planning further investments in e-mobility in Germany and Europe. In Leipzig, the synergies of the electric PPE architecture will be harnessed for the premium segment with two Porsche.
With regard to electrifying the Neckarsulm plant, it was decided to re-equip the next generation of Audi’s E6 model. Starting in 2026, the already fully electrified plant in Brussels will manufacture the new Audi Q8 e-tron.
On the Iberian Peninsula, there are plans to build compact electric vehicles (EVs) at the multi-brand plant in Martorell and electric SUVs at the multi-brand plant in Pamplona from 2025.