INTERNATIONAL – Volkswagen’s supervisory board is due to vote on a multi-billion euro investment plan on Friday, including steps to retool three German plants to mass produce electric cars and to explore alliances with battery partners and rival carmakers.
Labour unions, who control half the seats on Volkswagen’s supervisory board, need to sign off on the plan to create global production capacity for 1 million electric vehicles by 2025 amid their concerns that assembling battery driven cars will require fewer workers.
Around 436,000 industrial jobs in Germany are tied to building petrol and diesel engined vehicles.
Jobs are under threat because a combustion-engined car has 1,400 components in the motor, exhaust system and transmission, while an electric car’s battery and the motor has only 200 components, according to analysts at ING.
Volkswagen’s management this week outlined plans to labour leaders for converting car plants in Zwickau, Emden and Hannover to build electric cars, providing job guarantees to workers until 2028.
The first ID electric car is due to roll off the production line in Zwickau in 2019, as the plant ramps up to a production capacity of 330,000 electric vehicles. Zwickau currently builds the VW Golf and the Golf Estate.
Volkswagen’s MEB electric vehicle platform is also being eyed by US carmaker Ford as the two companies continue exploratory talks about an alliance to develop self-driving and electric vehicles and to complement each other’s global production footprints.