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The employee magazine
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E-mobility

The First Electric Car Plant

Zwickau will become the premier electric car plant. Employees are receiving training as part of a big push to promote new skills.

Currently, employees in Zwickau are still building the Golf and Golf Variant. In one year’s time, it will be the ID.,  Volkswagen’s first e-model based on the modular electric drive toolkit (MEB). To be able to do this, the plant will be converted from one that produces combustion engine vehicles to one that only produces electric vehicles. The location in Saxony will become the Group’s largest and most productive electric car plant, producing up to 330,000 e-models a year. The goal: from 2021, employees in Zwickau will build six e-models from three Group brands.

Zwickau production is switching from the Golf to the ID.

"The Zwickau team can and will build fascinating electric cars of the highest quality."

Thomas Ulbrich, Head of E-Mobility for the Volkswagen brand

The transition has already begun: step by step, employees are working to construct the first production line. Objective: in less than 12 months, the first ID. will roll off the line. The intensive conversion phase will begin in summer 2019, when employees will set up the line for the new MEB models in the span of just a few short weeks. By the end of 2019, the body shop, paint shop, assembly line and infrastructure will be reconditioned. For example, the entire conveyor system will need to be adapted to the heavier electric cars. Six months later, the second production line will be converted along the same principle, and will begin operating in 2020. Production at Zwickau will then increase from 1,350 to 1,500 vehicles a day. The conversion will require an estimated 9,000 tons of steel and repurpose 50,000 square meters of factory space.

Objective: in less than 12 months, the first ID. will roll off the line.

The changing automotive factory: Europe’s most productive electric car factory is being built in Zwickau. Production on the ID. will start in one year. The new plant will produce up to 330,000 e-models.

Bernd Füsting (55) has been at the Volkswagen Educational Institute for ten years. His project is to develop a training center for electromobility. He has already provided support for the plants in Pune and Bratislava as a vocational training consultant.

The Training Developer

“Everyone who works with high-voltage technology has to be fully prepared. With the support of the Group’s Lean Center in Wolfsburg, we have developed a new training center with a focus on electromobility. There, we will teach basic skills in high-voltage technology across different modules: for example, how are electric components assembled? What do you need to know about fuses and plugs? The first training sessions took place in Dresden when the e-Golf was launched in 2017. From January onwards, we will be training 3,000 employees in Zwickau. By the time the ID. is launched, everyone should be ready for their electrifying new job!”

Mike Kusche (44) started his career in the paint shop at Volkswagen in 1997. He has now been training employees for more than six years, currently focusing on electromobility.

The Trainer

“I see electromobility as a big opportunity for Zwickau. We are pioneers and want to show that we can be counted on. My job as a lead instructor in electromobility is to train colleagues on the production line, as well as future instructors themselves. I really enjoy sharing knowledge with others. I have a lot of responsibility and that motivates me to do my job well. We work very innovatively, for example with VR headsets. This lets us digitally display components before they are available. Soon we will start training employees in Hall 5. That’s where the ID. will be produced. I can’t wait to get started!”

Thomas Hofbauer (29) trained „as an electronics engineer for automation technology“ at Volkswagen. Next year, he will complete his distance learning course to become an electrical engineer. His is specializing in robotic technology and process automation.

The Robot Expert

“I think it’s great that electromobility at Volkswagen is starting here in Zwickau. It’s a sign of great confidence in us. Now all eyes are on our factory. That is a big responsibility, but also a motivator. I work in maintenance on the assembly line, where I’m responsible for maintaining the systems. I specialize in robotics and control technology. The conversion of the plant to a fully electric location will bring a lot of changes. Systems will be converted, upgraded or completely replaced. Soon I will be able to say, ‘Here in Zwickau, we make electric cars.’ That makes me proud.”

By converting the plant to an electric car plant for fully connected and fully electric cars, Volkswagen has started the biggest push to promote new skills in the company’s history. The 7,700 employees at the site in Saxony will be included in the transition process until 2021. They will be prepared for the tasks and activities that will be needed in the new electric car plant with large-scale training measures. All employees will attend informative events. At the e-mobility training center, 3,000 employees will be trained in the technical aspects of e-mobility. In addition, 1,560 employees will acquire a kind of high-voltage driver’s license. These employees will learn how to safely handle high voltages on the production line and in other areas.

1,560 employees will get high-voltage driver’s licenses

In addition to Zwickau, four other locations in Germany are involved in the development and production of the Volkswagen ID. Employees in E-Mobility and Technical Development at Wolfsburg are working on developing ID. series; employees in Braunschweig are producing the heart of the ID. – the battery system; employees in Kassel will build the MEB drive; and in Salzgitter, employees will start the pre-series production of the rotor and stator for the MEB before the end of this year.