VW’s decision on the gigafactory may fall by the end of the year

David W Cerny

A decision on the location of a new battery factory for the Volkswagen Group’s electric cars, which is also being applied for by the Czech Republic, could be made by the end of the year at the VW Group level. Klaus Zellmer, chairman of the board of directors of Škoda Auto, said this at the Czech-German Economic Forum on Monday.

The Czech Republic is bidding to build the so-called gigafactory by offering a new industrial zone in Líně near Plzeň. According to Zellmer, a dialogue with the representatives of Plzeň and the government is still needed to meet the conditions he did not specify. He said two other sites in Poland and Hungary are still in play.

According to earlier statements, the government is still waiting to decide on the fate of the military-owned Lín reserve airport. The army considers it strategic in the current geopolitical situation and wants to keep it. “I believe that the Czech government will push for this important project,” Zellmer told the conference on Monday.

Volkswagen wants to build six gigafactories for electric car batteries across Europe. Škoda Auto belongs to the group and will be a significant customer. By 2030, it expects electric vehicles to account for 70% of its European sales.

At the same time, electric cars should account for most of the carmaker’s sales. However, Zellmer also said the company would continue to develop and produce highly efficient internal combustion engines.

Škoda is currently producing the Enyaq electric car. By 2026, it plans to have three more electric vehicles, ranging from a small car to a compact car to a seven-seater.

Over the next five years, it plans to invest €5.5 billion, or about CZK 135 billion, in electromobility. This is a 78 percent increase over previous years. A further half a billion euros will be invested in future technologies by 2030.