The future of personal transportation is electric, and for Volkswagen, building the vehicles of the future means expanding in the United States.
Volkswagen announced today it plans to expand its Chattanooga factory to build the next generation of electric vehicles – a investment of about $800 million that anticipates creating about 1,000 jobs in Tennessee and elsewhere in the United States. The Chattanooga plant will become the North American hub for Volkswagen’s all-electric vehicles built off the breakthrough toolkit known as MEB.
“We could not be prouder to build the future of mobility here in the United States,” said Scott Keogh, CEO and president of Volkswagen Group of America. “We’re known as ‘the people’s car’ for a reason, and we plan to build EVs for millions, not millionaires.”
The Chattanooga factory already has about 3,500 workers, who have assembled nearly 900,000 Passat sedans and Atlas SUVs since the plant opened in 2011. VW has already said the plant would be growing soon to handle another model, a five-seat version of the Atlas that is expected to launch next year.
So far, Volkswagen has shown five concepts based on the MEB chassis – a system that uses a common set of components and can be flexible enough to underpin a sizable range of vehicles, from compact cars to vans like the I.D. BUZZ concept vehicle.
Around the world, the Volkswagen Group has committed nearly $50 billion toward electric vehicles and digital services through 2023. The company has set targets for selling about 150,000 EVs by 2020 worldwide, and plans to increase that number to 1 million by 2025.
In the United States, the first next-generation Volkswagen electric vehicle is anticipated to go on sale in 2020, a production version of the concept I.D. Crozz SUV that was designed to combine the interior space of a midsize SUV and the footprint of a compact model, with an all-electric range of up to 300 miles. That vehicle will eventually be among those assembled in Chattanooga.
“The United States is one of the most important locations for us and producing electric cars in Chattanooga is a key part of our growth strategy in North America,” said Dr. Herbert Diess, CEO of Volkswagen AG. “Together with our ongoing investments and this increase in local production, we are strengthening the foundation for sustainable growth of the Volkswagen brand in the United States.”