Volkswagen plant in Wolfsburg

Volkswagen has confirmed that an “initial investment” of €460 million will be pumped into its Wolfsburg facility ahead of the start of production for the new ID.3 hatchback in 2023.

Though the electric hatchback will continue to be built in Zwickau for the time-being, “partial production” of the updated ID.3 – revealed last week – will begin at Wolfsburg in 2023, with full production of the electric hatchback slated for VW’s main facility from 2024 onwards. The refurbishment is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2025.

Interestingly, alongside the ID.3, Volkswagen has also stated that the €460 million investment – around $663.5 million CAD – into Wolfsburg’s e-production will also cater to “a further all-electric model for the booming SUV segment,” speculated to be an electric alternative to the mid-sized T-Roc that debuted in 2017.

Teaser for new small EV from Volkswagen

Silhouette der Studie Volkswagen Trinity.

“We are working closely with the Works Council to bring a further electric model based on the MEB+ to Wolfsburg – this will be a high-volume model for the booming SUV segment,” VW CEO Thomas Schäfer explains. “That is the largest vehicle segment worldwide, it is home to our popular Tiguan. The new model would ideally complement our bestselling ID.4 and ID.5. This is how we intend to expand our market position further and give our customers the high-quality vehicles they expect from us.”

Read more: New, sharper Volkswagen ID.3 arrives next spring

Like the ID.3, the new model will sit atop VW’s flexible, EV-dedicated Modular Electric Drive System (MEB), albeit an “even more efficient” version dubbed the MEB+. Development focus on the upgraded platform will be on increasing electric ranges and reducing charging speeds, with battery cell production at VW’s nearby Salzgitter facility seen as a crucial component.

“The MEB still has significant potential,” Schäfer continues. “Our ambition is to take this platform to the next level. To that end, we are making substantial investments in advancing this technology. The MEB+ puts us in an excellent position for the coming years.”

As part of the Volkswagen Group’s wider electrification strategy, Wolfsburg aims to produce electric cars only “by the end of 2033 at the latest,” with VW’s other European factories set to follow suit.

After its refurbishment, Wolfsburg’s next big project will be Project Trinity, which will sit on the Group’s Scalable Systems Platform (SSP). Production of VW’s future EV flagship, first announced in March 2021, is set to begin in 2026 at a dedicated site close nearby, for which €2 billion – just under $2.9 billion CAD – has already been earmarked ahead of the scheduled start of construction early next year. Though few details of the “flat, sporty sedan” have been revealed – with even this under potential revision, with board members now said to favour an SUV instead – Project Trinity will bring new standards in range, charging speeds and consumer software, with Level 4 autonomous driving capability also on the cards.

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