- Pre-production examples of the Volkswagen ID.4 roll off the assembly line in Chattanooga, Tennessee, ahead of mass production starting next year.
- The Chattanooga plant becomes the North American headquarters of Volkswagen’s MEB platform, which underpins several of the VW Group’s electric vehicles.
- A larger ID.8 electric SUV is in the works, as VW seeks to offer a greater variety of electric choices.
The first US-made copies of the Volkswagen ID.4 rolled off the Chattanooga assembly line a few days ago, part of a pre-production batch that will preview the official start of production in 2022, giving the ID.4 a home in North America. The model has been on sale since early spring, when the first copies arrived from Germany, with the Chattanooga, Tennessee plant set to expand production of Volkswagen’s MEB platform beyond Europe. and Asia.
The Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga is key to the automaker’s presence in the United States, having given the brand its long-awaited Atlas crossover, with VW now making room for electric vehicle production in Tennessee in the years to to come. Earlier this summer, VW announced that it would end production of the Passat at the factory to make room for the ID.4, giving the sedan a start with limited edition 1973 units for mark the model’s worldwide debut in 1973. Once production of the Passat is completed in the United States, VW will rely on the German-made Arteon as its primary sedan offering here, while the Chattanooga plant will use the space for production ID.4.
“This first model is a way for us to validate the build process, components and procedures before the full assembly which is expected to begin next year,” wrote VW of America President and CEO Scott Keogh, in an article on LinkedIn. “Equally important, this represents our investment of $ 800 million in the assembly of electric vehicles for the region and our commitment to the high-tech jobs that will keep this facility running. “
To prepare for the age of electric vehicles, the Volkswagen Academy at the Chattanooga plant has transformed its vocational training program to offer new courses in electric vehicle technology in recent months, including working with electric vehicles. high voltage batteries and aluminum welding techniques.
“The welding of aluminum required for an electric vehicle battery is completely new to many students,” Volkswagen noted earlier in March. “Typically apprentices (or, in many cases, robots) weld with steel, but for electric vehicle batteries, they learn to weld with rubber on an aluminum frame that will be placed in the underbody of the vehicle. The new to Volkswagen process is a key technology and skill that is needed as more and more electric vehicles are developed at Volkswagen. “
The upcoming production launch of the ID.4 series at Chattanooga in 2022 and the launch of the dual-engine AWD version is expected to bolster VW’s electric vehicle lineup in the United States, as are equally inexpensive competitors from other brands like Nissan are entering the market in the coming months. With the larger ID.8 on the way (though not yet confirmed for the US), VW aims to expand its offerings worldwide after the ID.6 launched earlier this year.
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