VW started construction on its first factory specifically designed for the production of its new MEB platform for all-electric vehicles.

The new factory will be in China and it will have a capacity of 300,000 cars per year.

Through its SAIC Volkswagen joint-venture, they broke ground at their Anting, Shanghai location.

Dr. Herbert Diess, CEO Volkswagen Group, commented on the milestone:

“By building the first factory specifically designed for MEB production, we are opening a new chapter for the Chinese car industry together with our joint venture partner SAIC VOLKSWAGEN. We are strengthening our activities in China’s fast growing e-mobility market.”

The MEB platform will first go into production in Germany next year, but it will not be at a factory especially designed for the platform.

The first vehicle to be produced at the new plant will be an all-electric SUV in 2020, but there will be a range of different EVs.

VW wrote in a press release:

“The facility is scheduled to be put into production by 2020 with a planned annual capacity of 300,000 vehicles. It will produce various new pure electric vehicles of SAIC VOLKSWAGEN, including medium- and large-sized pure electric SUVs, as well as battery systems. The first vehicle being built is a MEB-SUV from the Volkswagen brand. The factory will be supporting the Volkswagen Group’s e-mobility strategy in China.”

The German automaker says that they are deploying their “industry 4.0” approach in the factory with a bunch of high tech systems like AI and VR:

“The facility comes equipped with over 1400 Industry 4.0 standard robots, as well as a range of technologies including AI, AR and VR, delivering an intelligent and digitalized production plant. Covering 610,000 square meters, the plant for new energy vehicles (NEV) includes a variety of different function areas such as pressing equipment and battery assembly workshops, in addition to an elevated stereoscopic warehouse, a proving road and more. Meanwhile, it utilizes 27 types of environmentally-friendly technologies with a special focus on water preservation, energy saving and the reduction of carbon dioxide.”

It will enable VW to quickly deploy a high volume of electric vehicles in China, which has aggressive electrification goals.

As we previously reported, VW will start with a capacity of 100,000 electric cars per year for its first plant to go electric in Germany by 2020.

In North America and Europe, VW’s series of “I.D.” concept vehicles are powered by the company’s new MEB platform for electric vehicles.

There’s the I.D., which is a Golf-sized vehicle expected to be their first mass-market EV for the model year 2020. VW also unveiled the I.D. VIZZION sedan, the crossover all-electric I.D. CROZZ Concept, and then there’s the I.D. BUZZ electric microbus coming in 2022.

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