This story was updated Wednesday, Dec. 9, 2020, at 10:35 p.m. with more information.
Volkswagen officials believe the new electric SUV slated for assembly in Chattanooga will hit the three targets to emerge as a vehicle for the masses — price, range and charging.
"It will give buyers the same kind of freedom to go anywhere you want to go," said Dustin Krause, Volkswagen of America's director of e-mobility in North America.
The price of the ID.4, coming to America in 2021 from Germany and expected to roll out of the Chattanooga plant in 2022, is $39,995 before a possible $7,500 government tax credit.
Krause said the range of the vehicle is 250 miles between charges.
VW also is teaming with nationwide charging company Electrify America so the purchase of the 2021 SUV will come with three years of free charging.
Fuel savings are expected to be as much as $3,500 over five years compared to an average new vehicle, Krause said.
He said the vehicle can charge on the Electrify America network from zero to 80% in 30 to 40 minutes.
"This is an important feature of the car," Krause said Wednesday during a virtual briefing with media outlets.
Electrify America, a VW subsidiary, is building out a nationwide network and expects to have installed or under development 800 charging stations with 3,500 individual chargers in a year, said Wayne Killen, the company's director of charging infrastructure planning and business development.
Already, the company has opened more than 500 charging stations across the U.S. with more than 2,200 individual DC fast chargers.
In the Chattanooga area, Electrify America has a charging station with a number of chargers outside the Walmart in Collegedale.
"We're the largest and most open DC fast-charging network in the U.S.," Killen said.
Currently, the company is installing an average of four charging stations per week, with the aim of putting those close to retail areas, he said. The average spacing between stations is 70 miles, and Electrify America locations are in all the top 29 metro areas in the country, Killen said.
"Drivers feel there isn't enough EV charging infrastructure and isn't fast enough to switch to an EV," he said. "Our mission is to overtake those two barriers."
The company has two cross-country routes already finished, he said.
To pay for electricity, users can provide a credit card or a utilize a service such as Apple Pay, he said. Electrify America also has a cell phone app, Killen said.
VW is investing $800 million in Chattanooga to add space for production of the battery-powered SUV. The company has begun hiring more than 150 employees at the 3,800-worker plant to fill posts related to ramping up EV production as well as assembly of the Passat sedan and Atlas and Atlas Cross Sport SUVs.
The carmaker has said that by the end of 2025, a half million ID.4 SUVs are to roll off assembly lines in Chattanooga along with VW plants in Germany and China.
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