VW Slovakia extends production of e-car models

The Bratislava factory will manufacture the Škoda Karoq

Thee models of electric cars produced in the Bratislava plant of Volkswagen.Thee models of electric cars produced in the Bratislava plant of Volkswagen. (Source: Courtesy of Volkswagen Slovakia)

Volkswagen Slovakia (VW SK), the Slovak arm of the German carmaker, is increasing the share of electric cars in its production. Along with the production launch of the upgraded Volkswagen e-up!, it began to manufacture the electric versions of the Škoda CITIGOe iV and Seat Mii electric in the middle of August.

“The advantage of these vehicles is that they offer greater range and simultaneously low operational costs,” said René Fusek, product manager for the segment of New Small Family cars at Volkswagen Slovakia.

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The range of the upgraded Volkswagen e-up! version is 260 km, almost double compared to the first version of this model, which the Bratislava plant began to manufacture in 2013. The revised model has six airbags and Lane Assist as standard.

While in the past electric cars accounted for a marginal share of production in the New Small Family segment, now it should increase to two thirds. Last year, out of 408,208 cars produced at VW Slovakia, about 45 percent accounted for small city cars, said VW Slovakia spokesperson Lucia Kovarovič Makayová. She did not specify what portion the small city cars would comprise after the launch of the upgraded Volkswagen e-up! and two new electric models.

“The good news is that these three models will apparently be produced in a large series,” said Martin Jesný, industrial analyst at Revue Priemyslu magazine.

Production of electric and hybrid cars is part of VW's plans to significantly reduce CO2 emissions in its vehicles and production itself. The VW group has pledged to observe the Paris Climate Agreement and is seeking to be CO2-neutral by 2050 in line with the goTOzero strategy.

“Our common goal is to reduce the environmental burden by 45 percent per manufactured car compared to the reference year of 2010 and heading to CO2 neutral production,” said Oliver Grünberg, chairman of the board of directors at VW Slovakia. He added that meanwhile the European Parliament has decided to toughen emission limits for passenger cars, which should decrease by 37.5 percent per new registered car by 2030. A maximum of 95 g CO2/km will be allowed under EU rules as early as next year.

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Volkswagen Slovakia manufactures eight models from five brands. Apart from small city cars these are the SUVs Volkswagen Touareg, Audi Q7, Audi Q8, Porsche Cayenne and Porsche Cayenne Coupé. As of next year it will produce the SUV Škoda Karoq to ease capacity constraints at Karoq’s Czech plant in České Budejovice.

“But it is no secret that we are looking for models that could be manufactured here,” said Grünberg, adding that its production would not use much of the plant’s production capacities.

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