VW likely to back electric car assembly at east German plant: sources

Volkswagen’s leaders will on Friday probably approve more investment in a plant in eastern Germany to ramp up production of electric cars there, sources said, as the carmaker strives to create a mass market for zero-emission vehicles.

The world’s largest automaker plans to spend more than 20 billion euros ($23.5 billion) on electric mobility by 2030, including costs to develop battery models and upgrade factories.

Until it admitted in 2015 to cheating on U.S. diesel emissions tests, Volkswagen (VW) had been slow to embrace zero-emission cars. Under its “roadmap E”, VW now aims to offer an electric version of each of its 300 group models by 2030.

With its nearly 9,000 workers, VW’s plant in Zwickau makes the Golf and Passat models. The combustion-engine vehicles could be shifted to the under-utilized factories at Wolfsburg and Emden to make room for electric-car production at the site in Saxony, three sources close to VW said on Tuesday.

“Things are moving in this direction,” one of them said.

A spokesman for VW’s operations in Saxony, which also include an engine plant in Chemnitz and a site in Dresden, said Zwickau has been earmarked to build an electric model but declined to elaborate.

A spokesman at VW’s Wolfsburg headquarters declined to comment.

VW’s supervisory board will meet on Friday to sign off on management’s capital and development spending targets for the next five years.

At the previous budget round a year ago, VW pledged to cut group spending on factories, equipment and technology to 6 percent of automotive sales by 2020 from 6.9 percent in 2015.
VW is struggling to fund a strategic shift to electric cars and new mobility services while grappling with its emissions scandal which has cost it around $30 billion so far.
Fuente: Reuters