Volkswagen is gearing-up to go all electric
The last combustion car rolled off the assembly line in Zwickau after 116 years. The plant will now only make electric cars.
Electric cars are becoming mainstays on European roads. Especially in Germany where a new law has made it mandatory for all gas stations to provide electric vehicle charging. It’s no wonder that Volkswagen is gearing-up to only produce electric and hybrid cars.
While the target date is not until 2026, the company is taking very tangible steps to make the switch. In fact, the last combustion engine vehicle (EV) rolled off the assembly line in late June 2020 at the 116-year-old Volkswagen plant in Zwickau (in Saxony) according to a company press release. The last car produced was a Golf R. Estate.
“Today is a historic day for us. We are proud of what we have achieved so far, and at the same time are greatly looking forward to what the future holds for us,” said Reinhard de Vries, managing director of technology and logistics at VW Saxony in the press release.
“The trend towards electric mobility will continue to pick up speed. We will meet this demand from Zwickau: we have already created the capacity to build 330,000 vehicles next year.”
A step by step transformation is taking place in the plant to make the changeover from combustion engines that run on fossil fuels to mass produced electric vehicles. The company is putting its money where its mouth is by investing €1.2 billion ($1.14 billion) to redo the plant.
The first ID.3 model has been produced at the Zwickau plant since November 2019 except for a shut down due to the Coronavirus. Production on the new ID.4 model is slated to begin in the summer of 2020.
All 8,000 employees of the plant will be retrained for the production of electric cars and for handling high-voltage systems, the company said, and this will ensure job security for all.
“Our team has always delivered excellent performance and built vehicles with excellent quality. We have gained the trust in the Group to become the first location to start fully electric large-scale series production. The Zwickau plant is therefore well-equipped for the future,” Jens Rothe, Volkswagen’s chair of the general works council told The Driven.
Germany is not the only country who wants to ditch gasoline and diesel fed cars. According to CNN Business at least 10 other countries including France, Norway, Austria, and the UK have set official targets to convert to EVs.
New advances in EV batteries that can hold a charge longer and recharge faster is helping to drive electric car sales. Researchers at Stanford are actually looking to develop a wireless EV system that charges itself. And Norway is working on developing wireless charging highways. In the near future, EVs will have the run of the road leaving old fossil-fuel clunkers far behind.