Most of the news surrounding electric vehicles has come out of the Ford camp with the introduction of the Mustang Mach E, but Volkswagen is making news of its own announcing to the world that it will make its complex in Chattanooga its North American hub for EV-production.
Volkswagen recently announced that it had started construction on the $800 million site, which the company estimates will add 1,000 jobs, as it works toward producing the continent’s first ID. Product (a utility vehicle) in 2022. As with products coming out of Germany and other parts of the world (eight sites in all, on three continents), it will be built on Volkswagen’s Modular Electric Drive Matrix (MEB).
“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 US. Electric vehicles are the future of mobility and Volkswagen will build them for millions of people. “
The Chattanooga site will also require a 52,400-square-metre expansion to the Chattanooga body shop and will be adding an assembly plant for battery packs, said Volkswagen. The site is the current production facility for the Atlas sport utility and Passat sedan.
The company earlier this month started production of the ID.3 hatchback at the Zwickau, Germany plant and the model is due for production at two Chinese plants in 2020. Volkswagen plans to introduce the ID. 1 (a sub compact, reportedly about the size of the Polo) and ID.2 and ID.4 crossovers. The IE.2 compact crossover loosely based on the I.D. Crozz concept is expected to be the first ID. for the North American market, in 2020.
The ID.3 is not slated for our shores, and the ID.1 is deemed to small for a market that is embracing crossovers. That leaves the ID.4 as the likely candidate to be the first built on the continent, although it is slated for production in 2021. A mid-sized crossover based on the I.D. Roomzz concept recently introduced in China would seem to be the right size for North American consumers.