The Volkswagen brand is forging ahead consistently with its electric offensive and has now announced the first production location in North America. In future, the Chattanooga plant in Tennessee is to produce vehicles based on the modular electric toolkit MEB, a new generation of electric cars. For this purpose, Volkswagen is investing about US$ 800 million in the plant. The expansion of the plant will create up to 1,000 new jobs plus additional jobs at suppliers. The first electric car from Chattanooga is to roll off the production line in 2022. Over the next few years, eight MEB plants are to be developed in Europe, North America and China. Volkswagen is building up the production capacity needed to sell more than 1 million electric cars per year by 2025.
Dr. Herbert Diess, CEO of Volkswagen AG, said, “The US 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. The management team lead by Scott Keogh is committed to continuing to increase our market share in the coming years. 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 US.”
The first electric car to roll off the production line in Chattanooga will be the ID. CROZZ concept SUV model. Volkswagen will also offer the ID. BUZZ concept in North America, the reinterpretation of the legendary VW bus. Both cars are part of Volkswagen’s new ID. family, which will make optimum use of the possibilities of e-mobility.
Flexible charging station to be produced at Hanover
Elsewhere, the Volkswagen Group announced its decision to start series production of the flexible fast charging station from 2020 onwards. This station, based on the principle of a powerbank, can charge up to four vehicles at the same time and also be used for the interim storage of eco-power. The station is to be produced at the Hanover components plant, where heat exchanger production, forming part of the engine business area, will be replaced step-by-step by the new e-mobility business area.
Developers and planners have already been involved in piloting the concept for the flexible fast charging station since 2018. The pilot project is to start in the summer of 2019 together with the city of Wolfsburg. From 2020, production of the first fast charging stations will start at the Hanover plant. At the same time, cooperation is to be discussed with possible partners. Forecasts indicate that considerable demand for flexible fast charging stations is to be expected in connection with the ramp-up of e-mobility over the next few years.
Thomas Schmall, CEO of Volkswagen Group Components, says: “The development of charging infrastructure will be a key factor in the success of e-mobility. The flexible fast charging station developed by Group Components can make a key contribution in this area. This is confirmed by the considerable interest shown by potential partners. The charging station is an element in the end-to-end responsibility of Group Components for the high-voltage battery – from the development of cell production competences through to recycling. At the same time, the transformation of heat exchanger production at the Hanover components plant will provide sustainable prospects for the future in the new e-mobility business area.”
In technical terms, the charging station is based on the battery package of the Volkswagen Group’s Modular Electric Toolkit (MEB) and is designed to use its cell modules. Later, the charging station will provide a second life for batteries from electric vehicles. A battery loses charging capacity over time. When a vehicle battery has reached a defined, reduced residual capacity, it will be replaced. If this battery subsequently passes a thorough analysis, it can be reused in a mobile charging station.