VW Gets Ready for ID.4 Production in Chattanooga
The first US-made examples of the Volkswagen ID.4 rolled off the assembly line in Chattanooga 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 examples arrived from Germany, with the Chattanooga, Tennessee, plant set to expand the production of Volkswagen’s MEB platform beyond Europe and Asia.
Volkswagen’s Chattanooga plant is key to the automaker’s presence in the US, having given the brand its long-awaited Atlas crossover, with VW now making room for EV production in Tennessee in the coming years. Earlier this summer VW said that it will end production of the Passat at the plant to make room for the ID.4, giving the sedan a send-off with 1973 Limited Edition units to mark the model’s 1973 global debut. After production of the Passat ends stateside, VW will rely on the German-made Arteon as its main sedan offering here, while the Chattanooga plant will use the space for ID.4 production.
“This early model is a way for us to validate the build process, components, and procedures in advance of full assembly which is scheduled to begin next year,” VW of America President and CEO Scott Keogh wrote in a post on LinkedIn. “Just as important, it represents our $800 million dollar investment in EV assembly for the region—and our commitment to the high-tech jobs that will keep this facility humming.”
To prepare for the EV age, the Volkswagen Academy at the Chattanooga plant has been transforming its vocational training program to offer new courses on EV technology over the past few months, including on working with high-voltage batteries, and aluminum welding techniques.
“Completely new to many students is the aluminum welding required for the battery of an electric vehicle,” Volkswagen noted earlier in March. “Typically, apprentices (or, in many cases, robots) weld with steel, but for the EV batteries, they learn how to weld with rubber on an aluminum frame which will be placed in the underbody of the vehicle. The process new to Volkswagen is a key technology and skill which is needed as more EVs are developed at Volkswagen.”
The upcoming start of ID.4 series production in Chattanooga in 2022, and the launch of the dual-motor AWD version, is expected to strengthen VW’s EV lineup in the US just as similarly inexpensive competitors from other brands like Nissan arrive on the market in the coming months. With the larger ID.8 on the way (though not yet confirmed for the US), VW is aiming to expand its offerings worldwide following the debut of the ID.6 earlier this year.
Source: Read Full Article