The converted factory will have a production capacity of up to 330,000 vehicles per year.
Volkswagen has declared war on Tesla with the announcement that its Zwickau manufacturing plant in Germany will be transformed into Europe's biggest electric car factory with an annual production capacity of up to 330,000 vehicles per year.
The German carmaker is investing a whopping 1.2 billion euros ($1.4 billion) to convert the factory for EV manufacturing, with the ID Neo hatchback being the first model to roll off the production line in November 2019. That's only a year away, but Volkswagen has little time to lose as Tesla continues to dominate the EV segment. The Zwickau plant is currently used to build the VW Golf and Golf Estate.
Once the factory has been fully converted, it will produce a total of six electric vehicles from 2021 onwards. The first electric VW ID model to arrive in America will be the production version of the ID Crozz, which is expected to go on sale in 2020.
"The start of production of the ID in a good 12 months' time will herald a new era for Volkswagen – comparable with the first Beetle or the first Golf," said Thomas Ulbrich, Volkswagen Brand Board Member responsible for E-Mobility.
"We intend to take e-mobility out of its niche and to make the electric car affordable for millions of people. Efficient, modern production facilities will be the key. This is why we are bundling electric car production across the Group's brands at Zwickau. In one year, this plant will become the starting point for our global electric offensive. As the first MEB plant in the Volkswagen Group, Zwickau will therefore play a pioneering role for this future-oriented technology."
The factory conversion is a step towards the automaker's long-term plan to offer around 50 all-electric models across Volkswagen Group's 12 auto brands by 2025. In preparation, the plant's 7,700 factory workers are currently going through an advanced training campaign and will complete around 13,000 training days by the end of 2019. Volkswagen will also manufacture MEB-based electric vehicles in North America, but the location hasn't been finalized.