Built as a vehicle plant for the K70 in 1970, the Volkswagen component plant in Salzgitter today manufactures engine variants as well as important e-components for electric vehicles. In the future, it is planned that the Salzgitter plant will become the battery hub for the Volkswagen Group. To this end, the Volkswagen Group is investing around 2 billion euros in the transformation from the main engine plant to the main battery cell plant.
The plant in Salzgitter is part of Volkswagen Group Components. This is an independent corporate business unit in the Group Technology division under the umbrella of Volkswagen AG and is responsible for development and manufacturing of strategic components for the Group’s vehicle-producing brands.
Since the plant was founded in 1970, more than 63 million engines have been produced in Salzgitter. The power units are used in models of the brands Volkswagen Passenger Cars, ŠKODA, Seat, Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles and Bugatti.
Many millions of engine components are also manufactured in Salzgitter every year. In 2022, for example, 3.4 million conrods, more than 747,000 cylinder heads, 795,000 crankcases and 759,000 crankshafts were produced.
As part of the transformation towards electric mobility, the Salzgitter component plant has specialised in the production of rotors and stators, two elementary components of an electric drive. Both components are used in the models of the Volkswagen ID. family.
Andreas Salewsky is the manager of the Salzgitter plant. The mechanical engineer has been at Volkswagen since 1999. After four years in Production Planning at the Salzgitter plant, he acted as Head of Series Planning at Volkswagen Motor Polska for three years. After returning to Salzgitter, he worked in various managerial positions from 2006 onwards before becoming Head of Production at the engine plant. Andreas Salewsky has been Plant Manager in Salzgitter since May 2019.
Salzgitter battery hub
It is planned that the Salzgitter plant will become the battery centre for the Volkswagen Group.
To this end, in the summer of 2022, Volkswagen entered the global battery business with the European public company PowerCo SE. From Salzgitter, the company is now responsible for establishing international factory operations, further development of cell technology, vertical integration of the value chain and equipment of factories with machinery and equipment.
Also located at the plant in Salzgitter is the Center of Excellence, or CoE for short, which represents a central interface between Group brands as vehicle manufacturers and cell suppliers such as PowerCo. In addition, the CoE is responsible for purchase modules, battery systems and technology partners.
The first Group-owned battery cell factory is being built in Salzgitter. From 2025 onwards, unified cells for the high-volume segment will leave the production line there. In the future, the cell factory will reach an annual production capacity of 40 GWh – enough for around 500,000 electric vehicles.
The Salzgitter gigafactory will employ around 2,500 people in future and will be operated primarily with the workforce from engine production. The plant is therefore preparing the team for the new tasks and requirements with specially tailored training measures and information formats.
Vocational training is also being realigned: Since September 2022, Salzgitter has been offering the new vocational training occupation "chemical laboratory technician" for the first time, which prepares trainees for work in chemical laboratories. The combined study programmes in chemistry and chemical engineering are also new. By the time battery cell production starts in 2025, around 80 internally trained chemistry experts will already be on board.
In addition, the plant is expanding the existing expertise with further competencies for start-up of a cell factory in cooperation with external partners.
The Salzgitter plant, which opened in 1970, was initially the production facility for the Volkswagen K70. Engine manufacturing started in the same year. From 1975, the factory concentrated on the manufacturing of engines and engine components. The Salzgitter plant celebrated the 50th year of its existence in summer 2020.
The plant is currently undergoing a transformation to electric mobility. With the Salzgitter Center of Excellence for Battery Cells that opened in 2019 and its extensive cell laboratories, a pilot line for battery cell production and a pilot plant for battery recycling, which started operation at the beginning of 2021, the location already laid the first foundations for the transformation from the main engine plant to the main battery cell plant.
In the summer of 2022, Volkswagen entered the global battery business with the European public company PowerCo. The first Group-owned battery cell factory is being built in Salzgitter.