Volvo was among the first automakers to announce a gradual retirement of the combustion engine, culminating with the Swedish marque going purely electric at the end of this decade. Preparing for a zero-emissions future, the Geely-owned company is investing €1.2 billion (£1 billion) in a new factory that will only assemble EVs. The firm's third European plant will be located close to Kosice, in the eastern part of Slovakia.
Billed as being a state-of-the-art factory, the carbon-neutral facility will be erected starting next year when construction is scheduled to start. Equipment and production lines are going to be added in 2024, but series production of customer cars is not programmed to commence until 2026. Once production will be up and running at full capacity, it'll have a maximum annual output of 250,000 vehicles.
Without going into any details, Volvo mentions these will be "next-generation, pure electric" models, with the use of the word "pure" likely implying they'll ride on a dedicated EV platform. As a refresher, the XC40 and C40 Recharge models on sale today have their origins in a platform originally developed for cars with combustion engines.
The manufacturing facility will be Volvo's first in Europe in about six decades, having inaugurated the Torslanda factory back in 1964 and the Ghent plant in 1965. The current manufacturing footprint on the Old Continent provides a total annual output of 600,000 cars. As for the new site in Slovakia, it's going to be constructed with the option of an expansion further down the line should customer demand be strong enough to warrant a production hike.
While the press release only says "several thousand new jobs" will be created in the region, Reuters has a more exact number as the news agency claims 3,300 employees are going to be hired between now and 2026. Of the total €1.2b investment, around 20 percent will be covered by the Slovakian government. The new plant serves as a stepping stone to Volvo's ultimate goal of becoming entirely carbon neutral by 2040.