Volkswagen Breaks Ground on Expansion for EV Production in USA
CHATTANOOGA, Tenn.—Volkswagen of America began construction in November for its electric vehicle production facility in the USA, an expansion that is expected to add about 1,000 new jobs. The Chattanooga site, where production is scheduled to begin in 2022, will be Volkswagen’s North American hub for EV manufacturing. Volkswagen is investing about $800 million in the Chattanooga facility, the company said in a news release.
The expansion of the plant includes a 564,000-square-foot addition to its body shop. Volkswagen will build internal combustion engine vehicles and battery electric vehicles on the same assembly line. The company also said it intends to build a 198,000-square-foot plant for the assembly of battery packs for EVs at the Chattanooga site.
Volkswagen Group of America executives joined Tennessee Governor Bill Lee, Germany’s ambassador to the U.S., Emily Haber, plant leaders, production employees, and community leaders at the plant for the groundbreaking.
“This is a big, big moment for this company,” said Scott Keogh, president and CEO of Volkswagen Group of America, in the release. “Expanding local production sets the foundation for our sustainable growth in the United States. Electric vehicles are the future of mobility, and Volkswagen will build them for millions, not just millionaires.”
Volkswagen (https://www.vw.com/) currently builds the midsize Atlas SUV and the Passat sedan at the Chattanooga factory, where it employs approximately 3,800 team members. The facility is certified to international standards for energy management (ISO 50001), environmental management (ISO 14001), and quality management (ISO 9001).
“With Volkswagen’s expansion, Tennessee is on the cutting edge of the move to electric vehicles, and our workforce is up to the challenge,” Tennessee Gov. Lee said. “We look forward to a continued partnership with VW and the growth of advanced manufacturing in Chattanooga and beyond.”
Tom du Plessis, CEO of Volkswagen Chattanooga, 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.”