The Volkswagen plant in Zwickau is gradually ramping up the production of electric vehicles again. The restart of the fully electric ID.3 started on Thursday, April 23, with reduced capacity and with a significantly slower cycle time.
Volkswagen is taking additional protective measures for the health of the workforce. The restart also takes place in line with the ongoing stabilization of international supply chains. “At the moment we all have a historic task to accomplish together. It’s about ensuring the health of our company’s employees – and at the same time responsibly getting the business going again,” says Thomas Ulbrich, Board Member for E-Mobility for the Volkswagen brand and spokesman for the management of Volkswagen Saxony.
In this challenging situation, according to Ulbrich, new priorities are definitely being set: “Health comes before speed at Volkswagen. Therefore, the first question that matters is how many cars can be built per day. Rather, what is more important is that the transformation process towards electromobility that has started is picking up speed again today. The ID.3 is one of the most important vehicle projects for Volkswagen.”
In the first phase of the restart, 50 units of the ID.3 produced in Zwickau at a reduced speed – this corresponds to around a third of the production volume before the corona pandemic. Zwickau is the first vehicle plant at Volkswagen’s German locations to gently ramp up production after the interruption in mid-March. Parts of the component factories are already producing again as suppliers with appropriate protective measures. Production has already started again in almost all Chinese Volkswagen plants.
The Chemnitz engine plant also started same day, Thursday, April 23, with a gradual restart. The production of the Golf Variant will gradually begin at the Zwickau plant on Monday, April 27.
The general works council chairman of Volkswagen Saxony, Jens Rothe, emphasizes that the protection and health of employees is a priority when restarting. Volkswagen Saxony and the general works council have laid down clear rules in a company agreement. “Together with the company, we have made new appointments to protect employees. One thing is clear: we will not take any risks, the health of our employees is an absolute priority – even if we manufacture fewer vehicles,” says Rothe.
The restart at Volkswagen Sachsen will take place in small steps and in a plant-specific manner. A comprehensive catalog of measures to protect against the virus was agreed between the company and the works council. Among other things, this provides for specific distance and hygiene rules, the obligation to wear face masks in areas where distances of 1.5 meters are not possible, shorter cleaning intervals and temperature measurement before starting work every day.
In addition, numerous processes in production are optimized, consistent minimum clearances and increased hygiene standards apply in all areas. A corresponding company agreement for the restart with detailed individual measures was made. All regulations on the factory premises also apply to employees of external partners and service providers.