China isn’t just the world’s biggest auto market, it’s also by far the biggest market for electric vehicles. There are no shortage of local startups making EVs, but the market leader is coming in big.

Volkswagen has started building its first factory specifically designed for the Modular Electric Drive Kit (MEB) platform in Anting, Shanghai. The first model that will roll out from the SAIC Volkswagen facility is a Volkswagen brand SUV in 2020. Together with the FAW-Volkswagen factory in Foshan that opened this summer, SAIC-VW’s plant will start producing EVs on the MEB platform directly after the first worldwide MEB-production starts in Zwickau, Germany.

VW says that the new factory will adopt a production network based on Industry 4.0, and will be equipped with over 1,400 Industry 4.0 standard robots, as well as a range of tech including AI, AR and VR. Covering 610,000 square metres, the plant for new energy vehicles (NEV, China’s term for green cars) includes function areas such as pressing equipment and battery assembly workshops, in addition to an elevated stereoscopic warehouse, a proving road and more.

It will utilise 27 types of environmentally-friendly technologies with a special focus on water preservation, energy saving and the reduction of carbon dioxide, VW adds.

The Anting plant will start operations in 2020 with a planned annual capacity of 300,000 vehicles. It will produce full EVs including medium and large SUVs, as well as battery systems.

MEB is Volkswagen’s first pure electric automotive modular platform developed for mass production. The carmaker says that MEB vehicles will have a more dynamic design, additional space, expanded battery capacity, and all-new integrated digital services, while being fully prepared for future autonomous driving implementation. As part of the group’s Roadmap E, 50 full EVs will be on the market worldwide by 2025, with one in four new vehicles to be powered solely by electric. Read more about MEB and VW’s electric plans here.

In June, VW’s other Chinese JV (FAW) opened a second plant in Foshan that will double capacity to 600,000 units per annum. By 2020, production of MEB vehicles and battery systems is also set to start there.