Volkswagen has officially commenced series production of its first electric vehicle, the ID.3. The production site in Zwickau, Germany is a manufacturing plant that has been converted entirely to electric vehicle manufacturing with €1.2 billion so far invested in it, and it is scheduled to make 100,000 EVs next year, said Volkswagen.

“The ID.3 will make an important contribution to the breakthrough of e-mobility. It makes clean individual mobility accessible to millions of people and is a milestone for our company on the road to becoming climate-neutral by 2050,” said Volkswagen Group CEO Herbert Diess at the production commencement ceremony.

“Germany must drive the change and achieve proficiency throughout the e-mobility value chain. That is why we are producing EVs in Germany and have at the same time taken the decision to develop and manufacture electric motors as well as battery cells and systems. A strong cluster for EVs will emerge in Germany in the coming years,” Diess continued.

The Zwickau plant is undergoing a phased conversion, said Volkswagen, and its final expansion stage in 2021 will see the facility produce six MEB platform-based models. All 8,000 employees are undergoing qualification measure towards being prepared for EV production and working with high-voltage technology, and the personnel at Zwickau will have undergone 13,000 training-days by the end of 2020.

“The ID.3 is a high-tech car from a high-tech factory. With some 1,700 robots, driverless transport systems and fully-automated manufacturing processes, Zwickau gives a contemporary insight into the shape of forward-looking high-volume production of EVs,” said Volkswagen board member for e-mobility Thomas Ulbrich.

Production of the ID.3 is carbon-neutral, says Volkswagen, as green power is used exclusively in the energy-intensive battery cell production for the firm’s EV. Unavoidable emissions are offset – among other methods – via investments in the Katingan Mataya Forest Protection climate project in Borneo, the automaker noted.

The Volkswagen ID.3 will be launched in markets across Europe ‘almost simultaneously’ in the Northern Hemisphere summer of 2020, and over 35,000 customers internationally have already reserved and ID.3 with a pre-booking deposit paid, said Volkswagen.

The Wolfsburg-based automakers first fully-electric vehicle made its debut just ahead of this year’s Frankfurt Motor Show in launch-edition ID.3 1st guise, from which three versions were offered – the basic model, the Plus variant and the range-topping Max. In all forms the ID.3 is powered by a 204 PS/310 Nm permanent magnet synchronous electric motor, fed by a 58 kWh battery pack.

This will be the middle of three battery specifications, and be joined in the mainstream versions by a 45 kWh base variant with up to 330 km range on the WLTP cycle, and the range-topping 77 kWh battery pack option that offers up to 550 km of range on the WLTP cycle.

GALLERY: Volkswagen ID. 3 debut in Frankfurt