Volkswagen’s non-committal attitude towards a possible German battery plant that could rival Tesla’s gigafactory is causing problems.
A German labor chief has called for Volkswagen to commit to an investment in the plant, while the company has said it has made no decision, and the German media has reported that the company may be backing out of its plans.
This upset German works council chief Bernd Osterloh, who said that Volkswagen needs to commit to the plant to offset planned job losses.
“Volkswagen has to build its own competencies in the area of cells and batteries on the research and development side,” a German paper quoted Osterloh as saying in an interview. “That is important for the sites in Germany. We need a commitment to the production of batteries in exchange for job cuts.”
Volkswagen may need to cut jobs to fund a shift in production emphasis towards EVs in the wake of its diesel-emissions cheating scandal. The automaker is planning to launch 30 EVs, including the just-announced I.D., by 2025 and also wants to sell a million EVs by then.
In addition to wanting VW to commit to the battery plant, German labor leaders want the company to commit to building certain models in Germany to avoid plant closures. Osterloh has already said that Volkswagen could cut 25,000 jobs through retirement of older workers, helping it with the cost cuts it needs.