FRANKFURT -- Volkswagen Group will convert two more plants in Germany to build electric vehicles, creating what the automaker said will be Europe's largest EV production network.
VW's factories in Emden and Hanover will build battery-powered models starting early next decade, the company said in a statement on Wednesday.
The Emden plant will begin building EVs in 2022, VW said, without saying which models these will be. The Hanover factory will build the I.D. Buzz, a retro-styled minibus, with production likely starting in 2022, VW said. The Hanover plant will maintain some production of combustion-engined vehicles.
VW builds the Passat and VW Arteon midsize sedans in Emden, according to Automotive News Europe's Guide to European Assembly Plants. Sales of the two cars have been hit by a customer shift to SUVs and crossovers, and a slump in sales of diesel cars.
In Hanover, VW builds the Tiguan SUV, Amarok pickup, T6 van and Crafter electric van.
Production of the models currently manufactured at Emden and Hanover will be transferred step-by step to other group plants, VW said. The group's supervisory board will decide on plant allocations on Friday, it said.
VW has already invested 1 billion euros ($1.13 billion) to convert its factory in Zwickau, Germany, to build cars based on its new MEB electric architecture.
EV production in Zwickau will start with the VW brand's I.D. electric car range in 2019 with the first I.D. vehicle, a Golf-sized hatchback, launching on the market in 2020. A model known as the I.D. Crozz crossover will follow.
The plant will also build battery-powered MEB models for sister brands Audi and Seat. By late 2020, Zwickau will have a daily production capacity of 1,500 vehicles, making six electric car models, VW said.
VW made a radical strategy shift toward building EVs after regulators in the United States caught it deliberately cheating clean air tests, leading to a global clampdown on vehicle emissions.
Reuters contributed to this report