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Volkswagen Begins Series Production of the ID.3 Electric Car at its ‘Transparent Factory' in Germany

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【Summary】German automaker Volkswagen AG (VW) announced on Friday that series production of the ID.3 electric car has begun at the automaker’s factory in Dresden, which has been nicknamed the “Transparent Factory”. The Dresden factory is the second site producing the new ID.3 and VW's fourth global factory dedicated to producing electric vehicles built on the company's Modular Electric Drive Toolkit (MEB).

Eric Walz    Jan 29, 2021 11:40 AM PT
Volkswagen Begins Series Production of the ID.3 Electric Car at its ‘Transparent Factory' in Germany

German automaker Volkswagen (VW) announced on Friday that series production of the ID.3 electric car has begun at the automaker's factory in Dresden, which has been nicknamed the "Transparent Factory".

The Dresden factory is the second site producing the new ID.3 and VW's fourth global factory dedicated to producing electric vehicles built on the company's Modular Electric Drive Toolkit (MEB).

VW's MEB electric vehicle platform represents a new way of building cars for VW. The EV architecture consolidates all of the vehicle's electronic controls and reduces the number of microprocessors. The MEB platform can easily be adapted to many different sizes of vehicles and battery sizes while using common components to help lower the cost of EVs.

Up until December, the Dresden factory produced the e-Golf, which is now discontinued and being replaced with the ID.3.

VW will start by producing 35 vehicles per day at the Dresden Transparent Factory. In future, significantly more vehicles will be handed over to customers in Dresden, the company said.

The ID.3 is an important car for Volkswagen as the company transitions to electrification. The ID.3 is intended to be a mass-market and affordable EV with a starting price of around $33,000, which is cheaper than Tesla's Model 3 sedan.

Volkswagen's former CEO Herbert Deiss even took Tesla Chief Executive for a personal test drive in the new ID.3 in September.

"I think for a non-sporty car it's pretty good," Musk said in a video posted on VW's Twitter account.

VW kicked off MEB-based vehicle production at its Zwickau plant in Germany. At the end of 2020, the automaker's Anting and Foshan factories in China started producing MEB vehicles for the Chinese market

The four revamped EV factories have a maximum production capacity of more than 900,000 vehicles a year, Volkswagen said. But the automaker is planning more.

VW is converting three additional sites for MEB vehicle production in Germany and one in the U.S. The factories in Germany are located in Emden and Hanover. VW's U.S. factory is in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

The Chattanooga factory will be VW's first electric vehicle production facility in North America. The automaker is investing $800 million in the facility to become its North American hub for EV production in the U.S.

The Chattanooga assembly plant will include new production lines for both battery cell and battery packs that will be installed in the company's future electric vehicles, including the new ID.4 crossover.

"The U.S. is one of the most important locations for us, and producing electric cars in Chattanooga is a key part of our growth strategy in North America," Diess said in August 2020 when the company announced its plans for the Tennessee factory.

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Volkswagen's "Transparent" EV Factory

Volkswagen is calling the Dresden EV factory its Transparent Factory, but what does that actually mean? First off, the central goal of the facility is to act as a beacon for Volkswagen in Germany, the company said. The futuristic plant will reflect the automaker's commitment to zero emissions and building sustainable, environmentally friendly vehicles. 

Volkswagen said the factory will offer customers, visitors and guests a holistic experience of the ID. family of electric vehicles. The facility will offer advice, test drives, production visits and the handover of electric vehicles to customers. 

"The Transparent Factory plays an important role within the Volkswagen brand. Here, visitors, customers and guests come into direct contact with the mobility of tomorrow. We are a production plant, tourist attraction, event location, test lab and delivery center – all in one," said Danny Auerswald, Site Manager of the Transparent Factory.

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The Volkswagen ID.3

In anticipation of rising deliveries, VW set up a second customer delivery area at the factory, which is unique in the automobile industry. The number of vehicle handovers to customers is expected to increase to more than 5,000 vehicles in 2021. The goal is around 9,700 deliveries a year by 2022.

Soon Volkswagen will have seven factories producing MEB-based electric vehicles, which will support the company's goal of producing millions of EVs over the next decade.

As the auto industry shifts towards electrification, global automakers are pouring billions into research and development of new electric models, hybrid technology and other e-mobility services. 

VW announced one of the biggest investments in its future. In Nov. 2019, VW said it plans to invest 60 billion euros ($66.12 billion) by 2024 to develop electric and hybrid cars as well as digital technologies.

The automaker plans to build 75 variants of electric cars and around 60 hybrid models. By 2030, the automaker said around 26 million electric cars will be built. Of that amount, roughly 20 million vehicles will use the automaker's MEB EV platform. So the ID.3 is the first of many new electric vehicles coming from VW.

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