August 20th, 2020 by Zachary Shahan
Volkswagen ID.4 production just started today in Zwickau, Germany. It is first being produced at the Volkswagen Group factory there that just recently produced its last fossil fuel vehicle, after 116 years of operation. The factory is now focused on producing 100% electric vehicles, starting with a couple of vehicles in the Volkswagen ID lineup and then adding in variations of those models from other brands under the Volkswagen Group umbrella. The Volkswagen ID.3 was the first electric vehicle (EV) to go into production here, and now the ID.4 is in production as of today.
Volkswagen released a 17 minute video about the start of production, the ongoing shift inside Volkswagen Group toward electrification, and upcoming models. I’ve taken 31 screenshots of the video to highlight the initial ID models, the production facilities, and certain statements interviewed for the homemade Volkswagen TV show. I encourage you to watch the full video, but if that’s not your cup of tea, you can at least scroll down to see top screenshots and highlights.
Volkswagen’s Zwickau factory is just getting rolling when it comes to EVs, but don’t expect small things from the historic factory. “Starting next year, production will already be up to 330,000 cars per year,” the host, Sina Tessnow, states. Volkswagen invested €1.2 billion into this. Even within the perspective of the giant, capital-intensive auto industry, that’s a large investment.
The Zwickau factory will be “the largest plant in Europe building electric vehicles — the heart of our electric offensive, if you will,” said Volkswagen CEO Ralf Brandstätter.
A few messages repeated throughout the video were:
- Everything is on schedule.
- This is just the beginning of a massive transformation.
- Everyone is on board and helping out.
- Volkswagen aims to be #1 in e-mobility.
You can see some shots of the exterior of the Zwickau factory above as well as some shots from inside assembly hall 5, “the heart of the factory,” and some other portions of the production line.
It’s especially fun that they set up their little studio in front of a slow-moving production line carrying ID.3 cars through the production process — so, if you watch the video, you see them gradually rolling by.
The host, Ms. Tessnow, also interviews Thomas Ulbrich, the Volkswagen Group board member responsible for e-mobility. Among other things, she asks about ID.4 production being fully carbon neutral, which leads Ulbrich to talk about the past 2½ to 3 years of work Volkswagen has put in to get to this point, including going through the supply chain and switching the Zwickau factory over to 100% green, renewable electricity.
Ms. Tessnow also interviews the managing director of Volkswagen Saxony, Reinhard de Vries. He highlights that there are four more new models that will be coming out of the Zwickau factory in the coming several months, and that there will basically be another start of production celebration ever 3–6 months for these new models. (Though, they probably won’t all get such special treatment as the ID.4 did with this full factory show.)
Toward the end of the video, Ms. Tessnow talks to an inspection specialist who ensures that the vehicles are ready to go to customers. Brandstätter then gets into one of those vehicles, perhaps the first one produced, and drives it out of the factory — for show, of course, but it would be cool if he personally delivered the first ID.4.
In the middle of the video, Volkswagen gave a somewhat better glimpse of the body of the ID.4, but it was in camo, there was a lot of changing lighting, and the shots of the crossover were brief before jumping to another angle. It was interesting to see a bit more of the ID.4 nonetheless, and the size plus body style plus presumed cost competitiveness and specs reinforce my belief that this vehicle will be very popular — in Europe, probably in China, and maybe even in the United States.
Volkswagen should be having a reveal event for the ID.4 soon-ish, especially considering that deliveries for German and perhaps other European buyers are supposed to begin later this year. We’ll also be getting to touch and drive one soon in the United States, which likely coincides with the global reveal event. We’ll be sure to keep you informed when it comes to specs, pricing, and vehicle quality. Let us know if you have any special requests.
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