Volkswagen to build electric vehicle academy in China’s Hainan province as it seeks to hold on to top spot in world’s biggest car market
German carmaker Volkswagen is to build an academy in Hainan, an island province in China’s south near Hong Kong, Shenzhen and Guangzhou, to support its electric vehicle ambitions in the world’s biggest car market.
The academy project comes after a top VW executive in China earlier this month said the company remained committed to speeding the pace of electrification in the country in spite of intense competition and weak demand.
Volkswagen is the market leader in China by sales, but domestic electrified vehicle maker BYD outsold it in February for the second month in four to be the country’s best-selling passenger car brand.
VW China chief executive Stefan Mecha earlier this month told the EV 100 forum in Beijing that the company planned to increase the number of EV charging stations in China to 17,000 by 2025 as part of an investment of 15 billion euros ($16.26bn, £13bn) for electrification in China.
“The market is flush with new, highly competitive players but strong competition simply motivates us to constantly innovate and improve,” Mecha said at the time, Reuters reported..
In spite of soft short-term demand in China Mecha said VW is confident there will be a recovery.
The academy in Hainan capital Haikou is intended to support VW’s electric push in China by training local talent for the EV industry.
In February VW said it would establish another such academy in Hefei city in Anhui province as part of a decade-long academy programme.
China’s EV industry is in growing need for new talent as it aims to make 20 percent of its domestic vehicles battery-powered in two years’ time.
Mecha said the academy “will boost the group’s electrification transformation in China [and will] develop new talent within the industry”.
The centre is to offer training for both students and teachers and is to offer a certification mechanism in line with industry standards.