Chattanooga called base for Volkswagen's battery-powered future with $800 million expansion, addition of 1,000 jobs

Staff photo by Erin Smith / State and local officials break ground for Volkswagen's new electric vehicle facility in Chattanooga

Chattanooga was called the base for Volkswagen's electric vehicle operations in North America on Wednesday as work started on an $800 million plant expansion to make a battery-powered SUV.

"This is a really bold move," said Tom du Plessis, Volkswagen Chattanooga's chief executive. "It's a new exciting journey."

On a site near where VW once stored hundreds of cars temporarily decommissioned due to the diesel emission scandal, the automaker plans to add more than 750,000 square feet to its Chattanooga facilities to produce the more environmentally agreeable EVs.

The expansion includes a 564,000-square-foot addition to the body shop where Volkswagen will build both internal combustion engine vehicles and EVs on the same assembly line.

BY THE NUMBERS

* More than 100,000 — Electric vehicles the plant can make after expansion* 564,000 square feet — Size of the body shop expansion* 198,000 square feet — Size of new battery pack assembly facilitySource: Volkswagen

Also, the company plans to build a 198,000-square-foot facility adjacent to its factory for the assembly of battery packs for battery-powered vehicles.

Emily