The new factory had only broken ground last year, similar to the Tesla Gigafactory 3, and it is a testament to how quickly China can roll out manufacturing infrastructure.
Volkswagen has been moving quickly to embrace battery electric vehicles after the diesel gate scandal but in China, they have additional pressure from the Chinese EV mandate which requires companies to produce new energy vehicles or buy credits from those that do.
Because of this, Volkswagen has worked with both of its long term joint venture partners (SAIC and FAW) and its new joint venture partner (JAC) to build electric vehicles and hybrids to meet its quota and maintain market access.
On the 8th of November, the company announced that it had started pre-production of a Chinese specific Volkswagen ID at its new factory in the town of Anting in a district of Shanghai, China.
While the factory is starting pre-production after only one year since groundbreaking, Volkswagen has stated that it won’t start official volume production until October 2020. The factory volume production rate is 300,000 per year.
Dr. Stephan Wöllenstein, CEO of Volkswagen Group China, said:
“It took only 12 months to see the completion of this innovative factory. Congratulations to our colleagues in Anting, who will further prepare to produce the first China-model of the Volkswagen ID. family here in Shanghai. We will speed up our NEV offensive even more, as we expect further e-mobility market growth.”
Dr. Herbert Diess, Chairman of the Board of Management of Volkswagen AG, said:
“Together with the start of MEB production, we will launch the Volkswagen ID. family in China as well, a brand-new generation of fully electric and connected vehicles.”
Volkswagen is not doing this alone, so let’s see what the company is doing with its partners.
VW Group Chinese EV partners
The Anting, Shanghai electric vehicle factory has a production capacity of 300,000 cars and is part of its SAIC joint venture. The factory has the ability to have six different car models in production.
In Foshan, they will have an electric vehicle factory with production capacity for another 300,000 electric vehicles as part of its FAW joint venture.
In Hefei, Anhui, China, Volkswagen has a joint venture with JAC to produce over 100,000 electric vehicles under the new joint venture brand SOL. Starting with the E20X, the factory is under construction but the SOL e20x is already being manufactured and sold in China, but they didn’t do big announcements as it’s not based on its MEB platform.
SAIC and FAW will use Volkswagen’s Modular Electric Drive Matrix (MEB) platform, so 600,000 MEB-based Volkswagen ID vehicles could be built in China by 2021 (They open in late 2020). Add to this the 100,000 BEV produced by the Volkswagen JAC joint venture and the production capacity grand total for China is 700,000 vehicles in 2021 if they do not add extra capacity. Very impressive.
The company plans on having 15 MEB models from different Volkswagen group brands built in China by 2025, so expect more news of plants and models coming in the next couple of years.
Volkswagen has taken another step to bring its vision of staying relevant (and in business) in the 21st century into being. This is good news for those that want to see a sustainable future, and for more information on Volkswagen’s international vision for affordable and mass-market EVs, I advise you read this article from Steve Hanley.