Visitors examine an electric vehicle chassis at Volkswagen (Anhui) on Tuesday in Hefei, Anhui province. [Photo by Li Fusheng/NewsVase.com]

Volkswagen AG will build an electric car plant at its controlling joint venture in Hefei, East China’s Anhui province, with the first model to roll off the assembly line in 2023, according to the German carmaker’s senior executives.

Herbert Diess, chairman and CEO of Volkswagen, made the remarks in a video message on Tuesday, when the group and its partner JAC Motors announced that their joint venture has changed its name into Volkswagen (Anhui) from JAC Volkswagen.

The joint venture’s R&D center was unveiled on the same day. It is expected to employ 500 engineers and technicians, said the carmaker.

Earlier this month, Volkswagen scaled up its stake to 75 percent from 50 percent in the joint venture, according to a deal the two sides signed in May. The move has made it the first international passenger carmaker to have a controlling stake in a Chinese partnership.

Volkswagen is planning to introduce its electric car-only MEB platform into the joint venture, and the plant will have an annual production capacity of 350,000 vehicles, said Volkswagen Group China CEO Stephan Woellenstein.

The plant, which has an estimated investment of 20 billion yuan ($3.06 billion) from both Volkswagen and JAC Motors, will be finished by the end of 2022, and its first vehicle will roll off the assembly line in 2023.

Volkswagen has set a goal of selling 1.5 million electric cars and plug-in hybrids a year in China by 2025. It said Volkswagen Anhui will play a significant role in its e-mobility strategy.

Globally, it expects to sell 19 million electric cars based on its MEB platform by 2030. In China, its other two joint ventures, FAW-Volkswagen and SAIC Volkswagen, have built MEB plants with a combined annual capacity of 600,000 vehicles.