One factory – six models: This is how Zwickau builds electric cars

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One factory - six models: This is how Zwickau builds electric cars-this

The all-electric ID.5 off the assembly line – it is the sixth electric model from the Saxon vehicle plant. One factory, six cars: that’s an extraordinary challenge. The experts Robert Pahlow (start-up management) and Frank Schemmel (vehicle production) explain how this works.

1. Same assembly concepts

Zwickau manufactures models as diverse as the compact ID.3 from Volkswagen or the Q4 e-tron, an SUV from Audi. When it comes to inner values, however, the vehicles share a lot in common. Example bumper: The design is different, but the screws, tools and handles are the same. Robert Pahlow counts more than 120 cases of “identity of concept”. The models from Zwickau are also closely related in terms of software. This is made possible by the common technical basis – the modular electric drive matrix (MEB). The vehicle architecture developed by Volkswagen specifically for the electric drive offers good ranges, plenty of interior space and high performance.

2. Flexible change

The production is very variable: With various means such as a special code (“PR number”), the different models are directed to the respective production line in such a targeted manner that the employees always know which parts they have to install. In order to meet the high demand for electric cars, two production lines are in operation – one for ID.3 and Cupra Born, the other for ID.5, Q4 e-tron and Q4 Sportback e-tron. The ID.4 can be built on both lines – as needed. In total, the Volkswagen plant has managed six model launches for three Group brands within two years.

3. Fewer variants

Volkswagen does not make unnecessary deviations while still offering customers a large selection. One example is body construction. While the Zwickau plant built more than 100 body versions for earlier Golf models, there are often only two variants for current electric models. The advantage: Production becomes more efficient and costs fall.

4. fresh knowledge

Volkswagen has invested 1.2 billion euros to make Zwickau the first major vehicle plant to be completely converted for the production of electric cars. The training of all 9000 employees played a central role. The Zwickau workforce has more than 20.000 training days for e-mobility completed – 1500 employees alone have acquired the so-called high-voltage driver’s license.

5. Even more pride

Powerful cars like the Golf and Passat came from Zwickau in the past – but with e-mobility, the location has become a pioneer. “Zwickau has been playing in the champions league of vehicle construction since the e-models were launched. That’s something that many identify with,” says Frank Schemmel. The extra portion of pride is reflected in the high quality and high level of commitment, according to VW in a recent press release.

6. Strong team

Not only the core workforce works at the multi-brand plant in Zwickau – teams from Volkswagen, Audi and Cupra support them. More than 100 specialists helped with the model launches, including experts in production, development, procurement and quality assurance. Even after the vehicle launches, Volkswagen experts from other plants as well as Audi and Cupra are represented with their own specialists at the Zwickau site. Robert Pahlow: “This is an important advantage, because we can clarify many questions in a short time.”

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3 thoughts on “One factory – six models: This is how Zwickau builds electric cars”

  1. Bravo Volkswagen – you are the best,
    now you only have to produce each of these models in +- 10 hours instead of +- 30, then it will work with production output and margin 😉

  2. quantity instead of quality. These models can then all be retrofitted with contemporary technology when VW is ready. I have the impression that VW has to and wants to use all possible means to prevent as many customers as possible from leaving. Full throttle in terms of PR. You shoot from all guns and describe yourself as the measure of all things. Is there a reason why I should buy a car from VW today?? Unfortunately, no. I’m glad if someone can name me one. Jobs is definitely not a reason. Technology is definitely not a reason, design or innovation are definitely not reasons. Price not. Soon there will also be a German car with Tesla, which is up there with the front runners and is available 🙂 I couldn’t help myself now 🙂


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