Volkswagen has announced it plans to train 22,000 production employees to work in the electric car space by 2025. Europe’s largest car manufacturing complex is launching a new retraining campaign to train and develop production employees in emobility.
This coincides with the German carmaker forging ahead with converting its German plants to the production of electric vehicles (EVs). Following on from the Zwickau and Emden passenger car plants, the Wolfsburg factory will also become an electric vehicle factory over the next few years.
This fundamental transformation is not only to be grounded in specialist training. but also has an emotional side. The Wolfsburg factory has opened an eMotionRoom where over the coming months 22,000 production employees can enjoy an entertaining experience of the transformation process from internal combustion engine (ICE) to electric vehicles.
It’s good to see that the transition to electric vehicles is not causing unemployment and Volkswagen is using the opportunity to not only retrain staff but provide stability for the company and local economies.
The eMotionRoom is part of a one-day training program (eMotionDay) for the production employees in Wolfsburg that runs until 2025. This autumn, Wolfsburg will begin production of the successful ID.3 model, the first model at the plant to be based on the modular electric drive (MEB) platform. By the summer, around 1,200 employees are expected to have been given ID.3 production training.
Gunnar Kilian, Volkswagen Board Member for Human Resources, said “Volkswagen is constantly working on innovative training and development concepts as we move towards becoming a provider of sustainable and software-oriented mobility.
“These concepts are our key to a successful transformation. The more digital our world becomes, the more crucial our team’s skills become for our competitiveness.
“Volkswagen has launched a broad-based retraining campaign at its German sites, and the escape rooms play an important role in this initiative. After Zwickau and Emden, we are now rolling out this successful concept at our largest plant here in Wolfsburg.”
Gerardo Scarpino, Deputy Chairman of the General Works Council, said: “The eMotionRoom principle already met with very positive feedback from our employees in Zwickau. The idea proved extremely popular – that is why we have included it for Wolfsburg, too.
“The transition to emobility can only happen together with our colleagues. Getting them on board, inspiring and training them is absolutely crucial to our collective success. That is because we can only master the transformation together – and the eMotionRoom is a key part of the puzzle.”
The eMotionRoom in Wolfsburg was developed in-house by the Volkswagen Group Academy and the plant’s organisational units. It has three intricately designed rooms and employees must solve various puzzles and problems in each of these rooms within 20 minutes.
The challenge begins with a journey back in time to the 19th century with invention of the first electric motors, the second room traces the history of the Wolfsburg location to the present day (production of ICE vehicles). The third room takes a look at the digital future of driving.
Like classic escape rooms, the teams, which are each made up of four people, must solve various problems in each room to open the door. Each group is guided by two instructors from the Group Academy via a video link. The eMotionRoom is part of the one-day eMotionDay that also includes other training modules, such as the use of VR headsets in production. The eMotionRoom will be in use at least until the end of 2024.
Christian Vollmer, Volkswagen Brand Board of Management Member for Production and Logistics, said: “After Zwickau and Emden, our Wolfsburg plant is now beginning the transition to e-mobility in the brand’s German production network.
“Wolfsburg is special in that ICE vehicles will also still be built here for many years to come. In other words: For Wolfsburg, the upcoming transformation is first and foremost about integration – interfacing smoothly with ongoing operations and with production. That is a very special challenge.”
Subassembly of the ID.3 begins at the Wolfsburg plant this autumn and will be followed by full production of substantial numbers of the popular electric model from mid-2024.
Rainer Fessel, Volkswagen Plant Manager, said: “The new production line in Wolfsburg will give us more flexibility than ever before. The assembly line will be the first at one of the Volkswagen brand’s passenger car plants in Germany that is able to build both MEB and ICE vehicles on the same line.
With the future Scalable Systems Platform (SSP) platform, this will make Wolfsburg Volkswagen’s first multi-platform factory a few years from now. That will give the main plant a major advantage in terms of capacity utilisation over the next ten years. It is how we are safeguarding jobs at the Wolfsburg plant and giving our workforce a clear perspective for the future.”
The new production line for the ID.3 and the new Tiguan will be installed over the coming months. An initial €460 million is being invested through early 2025. The lion’s share will be invested in production facilities, the rest is earmarked for retraining, such as the eMotionRoom, and necessary conversion measures.
In addition to the ID.3, the Wolfsburg factory is to begin building a further model based on the MEB (SUV) in the near future. This will strengthen the location as the ‘heart of the VW brand’ over the coming years.