Volkswagen to expand its Kassel plant in Germany to become an emobility centre of the future

Volkswagen Group have announced that it will expand its Kassel components plant making it a key supplier for emobility. It plans to accelerate the transformation that started in 2015 and focus the product portfolio on technical components for electric vehicles (EVs) at full speed. 

It currently has 18 production lines for electric motors and other e-components which will double over the next four years. In the long term, Kassel will become a pure electric vehicle workshop and system provider for emobility.

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Kassel is developing the electric drive train of Volkswagen’s future Scalable Systems Platform (SSP) in conjunction with the Volkswagen and Audi brands. Volkswagen Group Components will invest around €1.2 billion in the site by 2026, with more than two-thirds of the total being used for the development and production of e-components.

The next-generation electric powertrain will set completely new standards in terms of efficiency, performance and volume, and Volkswagen is going in-house with this development. In addition to the electric drive, the pulse-controlled inverter will also be developed and produced in-house in the future. 

As the central control and regulation unit, it is the brain of the powertrain and a key component used to lower power consumption, increase range and deliver higher performance. The first launch of the first self-developed pulse-controlled inverter for the modular E-drive kit (MEB) at the site is planned for 2025.

Thomas Schmall, Volkswagen Group Components Board Member for Technology and CEO, said: “Kassel has mastered the transformation to date with great skill and courage – and on this basis will become Volkswagen’s e-motor centre of the future.

“The focus is on the e-drive train with the future in-house development and production of the pulse-controlled inverter. Because this is how the efficiency and range of the electric car are decisively defined. 

“With our tech components for the upcoming SSP platform, we want to achieve the best overall system efficiency. The component location in Kassel, with its high level of development and mechanical engineering expertise, offers all the prerequisites for this.”

With around 16,000 employees, and the world’s largest component plant of the Volkswagen Group, Kassel initiated the transformation in 2015 and is now the group-wide nucleus for the development and production of electric drives. 

Starting with the first electric drives for the e-up! in 2015, a total of 1.7 million alternative drives have been manufactured to date. Since then, expertise in the development and manufacture of components for emobility has been consistently expanded. 

Today, the location produces, among other things, electric drives for the MEB models, including the ID.3 and ID.4, of the Volkswagen Group for Europe and North America. Around 4,000 people are currently employed in emobility.

Gunnar Kilian, Volkswagen Group Chief Human Resources Officer, said: “Overall, the site is ideally positioned for the future. The basis for this is the excellently qualified team, their great commitment and a forward-looking product and vertical range of manufacture. 

“Kassel is successful in the entire transformation process and shapes the path with the people and a high level of social responsibility.”

Daniela Cavallo, Chairwoman of the Group and General Works Council, said: “The staff at Kassel are consistently driving innovations in the direction of electro-mobility and shaping the transformation together.”

Carsten Bätzold, Chairman of the Works Council at the Kassel site, said: “The products and projects shown at the symposium are a selection from the variety of ideas and capabilities of our Kassel workforce. 

“In addition to our direct employees in production, our indirect employees are also an important pillar in overcoming the challenges of all future issues. The change processes in the transformation need security and reliability. 

“Together with the company, we are now setting the course for future-oriented new products and long-term job security. The Kassel workforce deserves that.”

In the coming years, the location will further accelerate the transformation and switch the product portfolio to tech components for the electric platforms of the Volkswagen Group, above all for the future SSP platform. 

By 2026, the site will have seven new components in its range, while components that are no longer viable will be phased out. In the long term, Kassel could become the largest component plant for emobility and create new, sustainable jobs in emobility.

In addition to the numerous measures to reduce factory costs, the factory is also working hard on reducing CO2 and increasing sustainability in its entire value chain. 

As part of the decarbonisation strategy, employees in Kassel saved around 25,000,000 kWh in 2021 by consistently implementing over 200 efficiency measures. It has an annual CO2 saving of approximately 15,000kWh/a. Simply by converting 9,000 fluorescent tubes to energy-saving LED technology, the annual energy consumption could be reduced by 3,600,000kWh.

Ian Osborne
Ian Osborne
Editor-in-Chief at ElectricDrives

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