Chattanooga, Tennessee — Volkswagen of America started construction for its electric vehicle (EV) production facility. The Chattanooga site, where production begins in 2022, will be Volkswagen's North American assembly base for electric vehicles.
“This is a big, big moment for this company,” said Scott Keogh, president and CEO of Volkswagen Group of America. “Expanding local production sets the foundation for our sustainable growth in the U.S. Electric vehicles are the future of mobility and Volkswagen will build them for millions, not just millionaires. "
Volkswagen began long-range EV production earlier this month in Zwickau, Germany, and will then roll out assembly worldwide, including in Anting and Foshan, in China, in 2020 and in the German cities of Emden and Hanover by 2022. The Chattanooga site will be VW's North-American hub for EV manufacturing.
Volkswagen’s investment of about $800 million in the Chattanooga facility will require the addition of about 1,000 jobs. The production version of the ID. CROZZ will initially be assembled in Zwickau. Production of that vehicle is set to begin in Chattanooga in 2022.
The expansion of the plant includes a 564,000ft2 addition to the body shop. Volkswagen will build both internal combustion engine vehicles as well as battery electric vehicles on the same assembly line.
The company also announced it intends to build a 198,000ft2 plant for the assembly of battery packs for EVs at the Chattanooga site.
Tom du Plessis, Volkswagen Chattanooga CEO, said the expansion signals the start of new, high-tech processes in the plant. Hiring for the new assembly will begin in early 2020 and will continue as needed for ramping up production, he said. Positions added for the expansion include supervisors, specialists and a variety of engineers specializing in electrical, software, mechanical, manufacturing, chemical and quality.
“Electric vehicle and electric-vehicle battery production require new and different technical skills than those we currently use,” du Plessis said. “We're working with our colleagues abroad, as well as with the Volkswagen Academy, to ensure our team members are well-prepared.”
Volkswagen currently builds the midsize Atlas SUV and the Passat sedan at the Chattanooga factory. A five-seat version of the Atlas, the Atlas Cross Sport, began production in Chattanooga in October. It goes on sale early next year.