Volkswagen (VW) will convert two of its factories in Germany to manufacture electric vehicles, the company said on Wednesday.
The carmaker told workers in Hanover and Emden in northern Germany that it aims to start producing electric cars at both sites in 2022. It plans to manufacture some 200,000 electric cars a year, according to Reuters news agency.
The plan follows the announcement that another plant in the eastern town of Zwickau would be converted to manufacture electric vehicles.
“We are orienting the company towards clean mobility,” chief executive Herbert Diess said. “This way, we are also ensuring sustainable prospects for the future of the two plants.”
Cleaner, greener VW
VW had previously announced €34 billion ($38 billion) in investments in electric vehicles, driverless cars and digitization by 2022.
The move is part of a broader effort by the company to improve its public image following a 2015 scandal that saw the company use software to cheat on vehicle emissions tests for its diesel cars. In June, it agreed to pay a €1 billion ($1.2 billion) penalty to the German government for the infringements.
The decision has also come amid efforts to improve the infrastructure required for the widespread adoption of electric cars in Germany. The number of charging stations in the country increased from 10,700 in June 2017 to 13,500 in June of this year, according to the German Association for Water and Energy.
VW nevertheless faces stiff competition from international and domestic rivals that are also planning to pour billions into expanding their own electric vehicle production.
Jobs secure for 10 years
Some 20,000 jobs at VW’s Hanover and Emden factories would be secure until 2028, the company said.
But it said it would try to reduce the overall workforce over time through voluntary schemes because manufacturing electric cars is less labor-intensive.
VW’s supervisory board is set to approve the plans on Friday.
amp/sms (dpa, Reuters)
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