Valmet Automotive started series production at its third battery plant in Kirchardt, Germany, in mid-2023. Now this plant is buzzing with excitement as it celebrates a significant milestone: the employment of over 100 dedicated employees. This achievement marks a remarkable development, with each person contributing their expertise in developing the plant and our business in electrification.

Among those sharing their insights are some of the first employees in Kirchardt plant: Elisa Ernst (Senior HR Generalist), Julian Kersting (Senior Manager Quality & HSE), and Benjamin Schwarz (Specialist Logistics Planning).



Elisa Ernst, whose employment began on March 1, 2022, reminisces about the early days when the Kirchardt plant consisted of just six office workers and one factory worker. Today, Elisa is working as a Senior HR Generalist in the HR department and the workforce has expanded to 67 office workers and 34 factory workers.

Elisa takes pride in assembling the Kirchardt plant team, attributing it as a significant success amidst the growth.

  • On the HR side, one of the biggest challenges was filling many positions in a timely manner. Kirchardt as a location is rural, and the plant is outside the village. We also have a lot of competing large companies around us and that doesn’t exactly make the search for talent easier. Nevertheless, we managed to find great teammates and build a harmonious and competent team – I guess this is the biggest success for me.

When looking back and seeing the Kirchardt plant grow, Elisa is excited.

  • It was and continues to be very exciting to see the growth of the plant. At the beginning, on the new employees’ first day, we all stood in a circle in production for a get-to-know-you session and everyone briefly introduced themselves. Unfortunately, that is no longer possible today when the work community has grown. I’m very happy that I chose Valmet Automotive two years ago. I was attracted by the idea of building a new plant and still having an established company behind me. I have never regretted the decision.



Julian Kersting, joining the team on February 1, 2022, reflects on the evolution of the quality department. Julian works as a Senior Manager Quality & HSE in the quality department and is responsible for all quality and HSE-related topics on site. When looking back, he says there were some challenges but teamwork ran the show.

  • Clearly to generate and find the team was the challenge. Setting up a plant with new technology in an area with many other suppliers around – it was not easy to recruit personnel. Then in parallel new methods, new machines, and at the end the timelines. But now I think, although it wasn’t always easy, the team worked strongly together and ran the show through the time.

Julian mentions that it has been very exciting to see the development of the Kirchardt plant. Witnessing the plant’s transformation firsthand, he emphasizes the team’s resilience in overcoming challenges and foresees a promising future.

  • It has been very exciting, even simple things like workstations or the climate system. Especially the growth of the production lines were steps that the colleagues will never forget. When I look at pictures of how the hall looked at the beginning, it’s now amazing to see the differences in each area.



Benjamin Schwarz joined the Kirchardt logistics department in March 2022 as a Process Engineer. His focus is in internal logistics, the movements of goods from reception to line feeding, including the responsibility for the warehouse racks and the industrial trucks.

Benjamin acknowledges the complexities involved in building the plant, from orchestrating logistics to navigating construction phases. Despite the challenges, Benjamin highlights the success of assembling a capable team to tackle intricate projects, underscoring the resilience and camaraderie within the team. When looking into the future of Kirchardt plant, he is optimistic.

  • There is space around the plant for an extension for the future and I would most definitely be up for a greenfield building in Kirchardt. Also, the resilience of the whole team is on a high level. Getting through the challenging ramp-up period certainly brings the team together, which is a big positive factor for upcoming projects.

Benjamin says that sometimes it’s difficult to see the progress that has been achieved.

  • On a day-to-day basis, it is sometimes hard to see the progress. It is an eye-opener to see the number of decisions and alignments going into the rebuild of a whole building. Thus, in my opinion, it is important to step back occasionally and look at the bigger picture to see the actual achievements that has been done in the past months.


Throughout the journey,  Valmet Automotive’s Kirchardt plant has encountered both triumphs and hurdles. From filling numerous positions to synchronizing production with ongoing construction, each milestone represents a testimony to the dedication and perseverance of great teamwork.

Optimism prevails among the employees. With many opportunities for growth and innovation, the plant’s operations are heading for a bright future, and Elisa, Julian, and Benjamin are not the only ones convinced of this.