Volkswagen of America broke ground on the construction of its electric vehicle production facility in Chattanooga, Tennessee on November 13. The company plans to assemble electric vehicles, specifically the ID CROZZ, in Chattanooga starting in 2022.
“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.”
The Chattanooga site will be VW’s North American hub for EV manufacturing. The company began long-range EV production earlier this month in Zwickau, Germany, and will roll out the assembly worldwide in 2020 and in the German cities of Emden and Hanover by 2022.
The $800 million investment in the Chattanooga facility will add about 1,000 jobs. This expansion of the plant includes a 564,000-square-foot 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 intends to build a 198,000-square-foot plant for the assembly of battery packs for EVs at the Chattanooga site.
“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 Governor Bill Lee said.
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. 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 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, which began production in April, 2011. Production of the five-seat Atlas Cross Sport began in Chattanooga in October. It goes on sales early next year. The company currently employs approximately 3,800 workers.