BMW and Volkswagen are ramping up output of electric cars to capitalize on growing demand in Germany that is being driven by generous government subsidies.
Workers on the i3 assembly line at BMW's Leipzig plant had to forgo their usual summer vacation as the automaker boosted production of the full-electric hatchback to between 125 and 130 cars a day from the current level of 114.
The i3, which was launched in 2013, is scheduled to remain part of BMW's lineup until 2024. The automaker has not ruled out boosting output to a maximum of 200 cars a day, but this would involve introducing a second shift, resulting in extra expense.
"Should the high demand persist into 2021, a further increase cannot be ruled out," a BMW spokesman said.
Germany is offering subsidies of up to 9,000 euros for buyers of full-electric cars and 6,750 euros for those choosing plug-in hybrids as the government seeks to stimulate demand in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic.
Keeping e-Golf production
VW, too, has responded to the growing demand for EVs by delaying the e-Golf's production stoppage at its Dresden plant. The model was due to be discontinued in July, but will now be built until Christmas.
Output of the e-Golf in Wolfsburg ended last month as planned.
VW is currently building 74 e-Golfs a day and will increase this slightly to 80 vehicles.
In January, the Dresden factory will close for three weeks as it is refitted to build the Golf-sized ID3 full-electric hatchback, the first model from VW's ID family of battery-powered vehicles. Currently, the ID3 is only built at VW's plant in Zwickau.
Through July, 17,180 applications were made for subsidies relating to the i3 in Germany and 21,473 for the e-Golf.