Volkswagen's retooling its Zwickau plant to be the home of its EV production

The city that was the birthplace of the Audi brand and then the home of Trabant will now be the birthplace for the VW Group's electric vehicles.

Kyle Hyatt Former news and features editor
Kyle Hyatt (he/him/his) hails originally from the Pacific Northwest, but has long called Los Angeles home. He's had a lifelong obsession with cars and motorcycles (both old and new).
Kyle Hyatt
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Many of Volkswagen's future plans for electrification hinge on the completion of retrofits to its historic Zwickau plant to transform it into an EV-only factory.


The city of Zwickau in Eastern Germany has deep automotive roots, originally serving as the home of Horch and then Audi in the teens, and then those companies were merged and moved to Ingolstadt after World War 2. Later it became the home of Trabant production until Volkswagen bought it in 1990.

Pretty soon, the VW plant at Zwickau won't just be an important part of automotive history; it will be making history again when it finishes its transition into the VW Group's first all-electric vehicle production facility, according to a release Volkswagen issued on Thursday.

"It's my firm conviction that Germany as an automotive location must also lead the way when it comes to electric mobility. That's why we're deliberately converting the Zwickau plant into the largest and most efficient e-car site in Europe," said Herbert Diess, CEO of the Volkswagen Group. "It's impressive to see what efforts the team is making to help achieve that transformation. Zwickau can become a model for transformation in our industry."

Volkswagen plans on offering 20 new electric models by 2025 and hopes to sell around 1 million EVs by that time as well, so the changes being made to the Zwickau plant and its workforce represent just part of a colossal investment by one of the world's largest car companies.

"The transformation to electric mobility is a huge task for Volkswagen, Volkswagen Sachsen (Saxony) and its workforce. We've successfully accomplished the first phase of that," said Thomas Ulbrich, VW board member responsible for e-Mobility. "Around half of the 1,500 new robots for body construction are already in operation, for example. The paint shop is currently being expanded and we'll commence conversion of the first line in final assembly as planned in the summer."

Volkswagen's newly named and being-preordered-like-crazy ID 3 will be among the first vehicles built there when it goes into production later in 2019.

Check out the VW ID 3's clever camouflage

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