Volkswagen’s new electrification strategy involves a strong investment in the Wolfsburg plant, which needs to update its lines and change the machinery to be able to increase the production capacity of electric cars.
Although the Tesla Gigafactories are usually the benchmark for large electric car production centers, their numbers are not comparable to the proportions of the Volkswagen parent plant. The city of Wolfsburg was created around the factory and today it is established as the jewel in the crown of the German house. With more than seven decades of history, the factory continues to update itself in the face of new challenges. The next big upgrade will cost Volkswagen a whopping €460 million. A strong investment is already underway and that will speed up the production rate of the Volkswagen ID.3.
The factory’s roadmap has always included increased production of electric vehicles. Currently, the different versions of flagship models such as the Volkswagen Tiguan and the Volkswagen Golf are mainly produced at the German plant. The ID.3 wants to join that list, but that requires significant upgrades to lines and processes. A change that will not be made overnight or be especially cheap. Within the confines of the Wolfsburg plant, cars are built from scratch, from sheet metal to starting for the first time.
Adapt machinery, presses, robots, transport lines, logistics, battery module, paint shop, sheet metal, final assembly… The processes that lead a car to be what it is are long and complex. The Volkswagen ID.3 requires a very different treatment from other thermal models. Currently, the German plant in Zwickau is responsible for the exclusive production of the electric compact, but with the launch of the restyling announced days ago, the Wolfsburg plant will also enter the scene to significantly increase production. Other models from the ID range will be added later, mainly the compact SUV that has already been announced.
Wolfsburg will start producing the ID.3 next year, although for a few months production will be split with Zwickau. The parent plant won’t be able to fully produce the ID.3 until 2024, while its colleagues will supply some essential components like the bumpers, which will be transported by road from one facility to another. The definitive works should be finished by 2025 after having spent the budgeted 460 million euros.
Regarding the renewal of ID.3, Volkswagen has already presented the first sketches. Externally, there are significant changes in the bumpers, although the interior and the technological equipment will be the sections that present the most novelties. The Germans are expected to improve the quality of the finishes, something quite necessary considering the usual standards of the house. A multimedia system that has been a headache since day one will also be completely revamped: new software to offer better performance.
As regards mechanics, the innovations will not be significant, although updates are expected throughout the power train. Volkswagen expects to increase performance and autonomy figures, achieving 2% more range than current models. The final data will not be known until the official presentation that will take place during the spring of 2023. Deliveries will begin at the end of the same course, with the Wolfsburg and Zwickau plants sharing the production of the expected renewal of the electric compact.