Nov 26, 2020

SKODA AUTO Doubles-Down on EV Production

Manufacturing
EVs
Sustainability
Power Plants
Sam Scane
2 min
Skoda plans to produce up to 350 units per day following HQ conversion...

The series production of SKODA’s ENYAQ iV starts today at SKODA AUTO’s main plant-based in Mlada Boleslav and is the first 100% battery-electric SUV based on Volkswagen Group’s Modular Electrification Toolkit (MEB). Their future plans are to produce up to 350 units every day alongside the OCTAVIA and KAROQ series. 

Following a €32mn investment in the conversion of their main plant, SKODA is very much dedicated to maintaining their projected output, and have even installed thermal imaging cameras to monitor the temperature of batteries, as well as adapting transportation technologies of parts to manage the weight of these fully-electric vehicles. 

The Future is Electric 

Michael Oeljeklaus, ŠKODA AUTO Board Member for Production and Logistics, emphasises: “The ENYAQ iV is ŠKODA’s first series-production model that was designed as an all-electric vehicle from the outset. This means our new SUV also places entirely different demands on manufacturing processes and production sequences than models with combustion engines. 

This is also reflected in the extensive preparation and conversion measures that we have been implementing at our main plant in Mladá Boleslav since last summer. Today’s start of production of the ŠKODA ENYAQ iV on the only production line in the Group for vehicles based on the MEB and MQB is a very special moment for our entire team.”

The SKODA ENYAQ iV is due to be released with varied specifications: 

  • Three different battery sizes
  • Five performance variants 
  • Heads-up display with augmented reality
  • Rear and four-wheel drive in two of the more powerful variants

Alongside these varying specifications, the interiors will be using sustainably processed and recycled materials such as wool and leather tanned with plant extracts. As this is not their first venture into electric vehicles, having launched their first electric series models in mid-2019, SKODA AUTO already has over 16,000 team members primed with speciality training in electromobility, and no doubt they’re raring to go, potentially normalising electric cars the world over once and for all.

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Jun 8, 2021

IMF: Variants Can Still Hurt Manufacturing Recovery

IMF
Manufacturing
COVID19
Musk
Elise Leise
3 min
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) claims that while markets are rising and manufacturing is coming back, it’ll push for global immunisation

After a year of on-and-off manufacturing in the US, UK, and the eurozone, demand for goods surged early last week. Factories set growth records in April and May, suppliers started to recover, and US crude hit its highest price point since pre-COVID. As vaccination efforts immunise much of the US and UK populations, manufacturers are now able to fully ramp up their supply chains. In fact, GDP growth could approach double-digits by 2022

Now, the ISM productivity measure has surpassed the 50-point mark that separates industry expansion from contraction. Since U.S. president Biden passed his US$1.9tn stimulus package and the UK purchasing managers index (PMI) increased to 65.6, both sides of the Atlantic are facing a much-welcomed manufacturing recovery. 

Lingering Concerns Over COVID

Even as Spain, France, Italy, and Germany race to catch up, and mining companies pushed the FTSE 100 index of list shares to a monthly high of 7,129, some say that UK and US markets still suffer from a lack of confidence in raw material supplies. Yes, the Dow Jones has made up its 19,173-point crash of March 2020, and MSCI’s global stock index is at an all-time high. 

Yet manufacturers around the world realise that these wins will be short-lived until pandemic supply chain bottlenecks are solved. If we keep the status quo, consumers will pay the price. In April, inflation in Germany reached 2.4%, and across the EU’s 19 member countries, overall prices have increased at an unusual pace. Some ask: Is this true recovery? 

IMF: Current Boom Could Falter

Even as Elon Musk tweeted about chip shortages forcing Tesla to raise its prices, UK mining demand skyrocketed; housing markets lifted; and the pound sterling gained value. The International Monetary Fund (IMF), however, cautioned that manufacturing recovery won’t last long if COVID mutates into forms our vaccinations can’t touch. Kristalina Georgieva, Washington’s IMF director, noted that fewer than 1% of African citizens have been vaccinated: “Worldwide access to vaccines offers the best hope for stopping the coronavirus pandemic, saving lives, and securing a broad-based economic recovery”. 

Across the globe, manufacturing companies are keeping a watchful eye on new developments in the spread of COVID. Though US FDA officials don’t think we’ll have to “start at square one” with new vaccines, the March 2021 World Economic Outlook states that “high uncertainty” surrounds the projected 6% global growth. Continued manufacturing success will in large part depend on “the path of the pandemic, the effectiveness of policy support, and the evolution of financial conditions”. 

Mathias Cormann, secretary-general of the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD) concurred—without global immunisation, the estimated economic boom expected by 2025 could go kaput. “We need to...pursue an all-out effort to reach the entire world population”, Australia’s finance minister added. US$50bn to end COVID across the world, they imply, is a small investment to restart our economies.

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