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VW starts pre-production at all-electric vehicle factory in China

VW announced that it already started pre-production at its all-electric vehicle factory in China, just a year after ground breaking at the new plant.

Over the last two years, every major automaker has announced plans to build electric vehicles in China due to the country’s new aggressive zero-emission mandate.

Starting next year, a percentage of their vehicles sold in the country has to be electric in order to comply.

VW is among those automakers who quickly announced plans to build a new factory just for electric vehicles.

They started building it last year through their joint venture with SAIC and today, they announced that they started pre-production at their new factory in Anting, Shanghai.

Dr. Stephan Wöllenstein, CEO of Volkswagen Group China, commented on the start of pre-production:

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.

While pre-production is starting now, the actual official start of production is not expected until October 2020.

However, they plan to quickly reach a production capacity of 300,000 vehicles per year.

The German automaker says that the first vehicle to be produced at the plant will be “a China-specific ID. model of the Volkswagen Brand.”

Based on VW’s original electrification plans for ID vehicles based on the MEB platform, the company is planning three electric models in China between 2020 and 2022:

Two of them have yet to be unveiled, but VW has made it clear that China is a priority for them with it comes to electrification.

Electrek’s Take

The timeline here is interesting compared to Tesla’s Gigafactory 3 timeline.

VW started construction a little ahead of Tesla, and the two companies started pre-production at around the same time.

However, Tesla plans to start official production as soon as they get the needed government certification, which they expect later this year, while VW is planning to spend a year in pre-production.

It shows the difference between the approach of Tesla and one of an established major automaker.

Also, I think it’s important to note that Tesla’s Gigafactory 3 is wholly owned by the foreign company, while VW’s operated under its joint venture with SAIC, which is a Chinese state-owned automotive company.

Either way, the most interesting thing will be which company is going to reach volume production of all-electric vehicles.

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