Ghent factory to build first electric Volvo
The Volvo factory in Ghent will build an electric version of its compact SUV XC40. It will be the first all-electric car from the Swedish car manufacturer in Ghent. Also, a battery factory will be built that will provide additional employment.
Strong demand for XC40
The XC40 and the V60 are currently being built at the Volvo Car Gent factory. Especially the demand for the XC40 is high. “That is why the Ghent plant wants to almost double its production capacity from 100.000 to 180.000 XC40 units by the end of this year”, says Barbara Blomme, spokeswoman for the Volvo Car Gent factory. The capacity expansion for the XC40 is possible because the production of the old V40 model will end this summer.
More electric Volvo models to come
The factory also produces a hybrid version of the SUV. “We can barely meet the demand”, Blomme continues. “In the autumn of 2020, production of the electric XC40 should begin”, she adds. The allocation of the first electric Volvo is good news for the future of the Ghent plant. The Swedish car manufacturer intends by 2025 half of its cars sold worldwide will be fully electric.
Adjacent battery plant
A battery assembly line is already being built in Ghent and should be ready by the end of this year. The new battery assembly hall is 5.000 square meters in size and is adjacent to the final assembly plant. Asian battery manufacturers, CATL and LG Chem, supply the lithium-ion batteries, which will be assembled in one unit at the Ghent plant.
Not everything is going perfect for Volvo Car Gent. The factory was told last year that the plans to build a model of Volvo’s Chinese sister brand, Lynk & co, in Ghent would not start, for the time being.
Future for the Belgian car industry
Volvo Car Gent is allowed to build the first all-electric Volvo. After Audi had previously started building its e-tron in our country, according to experts, Belgium has positioned itself well in the new growth market. Like Audi, Volvo Car Gent also provides a local production site for the batteries used in the assembly of the electric vehicles.
The allocation of electrical models, which require a great deal of expertise, is good news for the Belgian economy. After the closure of Renault Vilvoorde (1997), Opel Antwerp (2010) and Ford Genk (2014), the car industry seemed to be as good as dead. Today, the remaining factories enjoy the first benefits of a new generation of e-cars, partly thanks to political support.