VW pivots to eastern Germany for electric vehicles, including new I.D. brand

February 27, 2017

Volkswagen (VW) is set to base its electric car production in eastern Germany as it prepares to reach its goal of selling 1 million electric vehicles (EVs) a year by 2025. 

Volkswagen Sachsen GmbH, which employs 10,000 people in Dresden, Zwickau and Chemnitz, aims ‘to make electric mobility available to the masses,’ according to its finance chief  Kai Siedlatzek. 

We want to play a major role when it comes to launching further electric vehicles,’ he added. 

VW's Sachsen subsidiary will lay the foundations for this with the launch of production of the new electric flagship I.D. brand hatchback from 2019 at its Zwickau factory. This will use VW’s new modular EV platform, the MEB. 

Before then, as part of this shift, VW’s smallest plant in the eastern city of Dresden, acts as a symbol of the changing times of the company. It once built the expensive 12-cylinder Phaeton saloon, which was dropped last March, and is set to build a new version of the e-Golf from April. 

This new e-Golf, a precursor to the next-generation I.D. models, will have a battery range of 300km. It will also be produced at VW’s Wolfsburg headquarters in the west of the country. 

However, VW not only wants to turn Saxony into an EV production hub, it also wants to transform its streets for the all-electric future. 

To further this aim, it is partnering with the Saxony state capital Dresden, home to 540,000 people, to boost its electric car infrastructure.  

The city administration is looking to execute a massive Tesla-style expansion of public charging stations and improve parking to boost use of zero-emission cars on its roads. 

To achieve this vision, property group Vonovia, which owns 38,000 flats in Dresden, is a key partner to develop this charging point network. 

The city administration also wants to grow public EV acceptance with drivers able to use mobile phone payment services for parking, which will be provided by VW-owned Sunhill Technologies. 

A VW phone app will also help direct drivers swiftly to parking spaces, with Google-style trip planning services in the pipeline. 

VW Group brands will also use the MEB platform and it is expected that all electric vehicle production will be consolidated in Saxony, including Skoda and SEAT models.

Incidentally, SEAT has announced it will showcase an EV prototype at the Mobile World Congress this week, highlighting its car sharing and digital access connected car technologies. It is symbolic of a wider shift in the industry that SEAT has chosen the Mobile World Congress to unveil its next-generation technology car rather than the Geneva Motor Show in March.






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