In order to build the millions of EVs that it wants to, Volkswagen is going to need a very large network of factories crankin' the things out. And what do you know, that's what VW is working on building right now.
Volkswagen announced Wednesday that it will convert two of its German plants, located in Emden and Hanover, to build electric vehicles riding on VW's new MEB dedicated EV platform. Its goal is to create Europe's largest EV production network.
The cars that are currently built at those two plants will be shuffled elsewhere in VW's vast global network of facilities, paving the way for a whole lot of electric vehicles. Currently, Volkswagen builds the Passat and Arteon in Emden, while Hanover takes care of the Amarok, Crafter, Tiguan and T6.
When the retooling is done, the Hanover plant will be the one responsible for VW's I.D. Buzz microbus, which is slated to enter production in 2022. Volkswagen did not say what vehicles would be built in Emden, so we'll likely look to future product announcements to fill that gap -- if it were a vehicle VW already made public, it'd be odd to not include that fact.
VW has already dropped over $1 billion to convert its Zwickau, Germany plant for EV production. Zwickau will be responsible for the Golf-sized I.D. hatchback (which might be called the I.D. Neo) and the I.D. Crozz crossover. The I.D. hatchback will be Europe's first experience with VW's new EV platform, while the US will start with the I.D. Crozz.
At the moment, VW's decision to tweak its manufacturing won't incur any job losses. VW said that it has crafted an employment guarantee that will cover the current employees at Emden and Hanover through 2028. However, after that point, the simplicity of building an EV compared to a gas-powered car might change things.
That said, Volkswagen said in its statement that "the current employment volume will be adapted in a socially compatible way along the demographic curve via the attractive partial early retirement scheme of Volkswagen," so it's not like those workers will be plumb out of luck.
VW I.D. Buzz: The future is electric, and it's also a microbus.
VW I.D. Crozz: This will be the first I.D. EV to grace American shores.