Auto International: VW ID4 from Chattanooga : Choo-Choo

The still very production plant in Chattanooga experienced an extremely turbulent history in the past 15 years.

Auto International: VW ID4 from Chattanooga : Choo-Choo

The still very production plant in Chattanooga experienced an extremely turbulent history in the past 15 years. In 2008, those responsible for Volkswagen decided on a different location as a new production facility in the USA. But Governor Phil Bredesen did not want to see the planned VW production facility with an investment of more than one billion US dollars and 2,000 new jobs relocate to Huntsville or Battlecreek and cleared a gigantic area of ​​1,300 acres on the site of an old ammunition factory without commitment. Volkswagen was impressed and finally awarded the new USA plant to Chattanooga in July 2008. Since then, the plant has experienced its ups and downs with changing models and amplitude-like demand. Now, in addition to the large MQB crossover of the VW Atlas, the ID4 is to be set up – the first electric model from the USA – for the USA.

For Volkswagen, the step is as big as it is important, because the ID4 is the central model of the American electric strategy. The small ID3 was not even launched in the USA due to its compact dimensions, and the two larger models ID5 and ID6 are also left out in North America. The VW ID4 is all the more important for the US market, because you no longer have to wait months for vehicles from Europe. After the VW ID4 initially only rolled off the assembly line in Zwickau, it is now also manufactured in the former Passat plant in Emden.

With local production in the 180,000-inhabitant city of Chattanooga in the US state of Tennessee, there is the first small facelift for the electric crossover. It is offered in the USA either as a 204 hp rear-wheel drive or 299 hp all-wheel drive. A small basic package with a capacity of 62 kWh makes for a cheap entry-level offer of around 37,500 US dollars, with which the VW ID4 can travel around 330 kilometers before the next charging stop is due. In particular, the SUV should be able to hold its own against the ever-increasing electric competition from Kia, Hyundai, Toyota and Chevrolet. With the large 82 kWh battery pack, the ID4 can for the first time also refuel with up to 170 kW at the fast charging station and now have its battery charged up to 80 percent in half an hour. With the small battery pack, however, it remains at a manageable 135 kW. Among other things, the standard now includes the twelve-inch central screen, which replaces the smaller ten-inch version.

After almost 200,000 vehicles of the VW ID4 were manufactured in Zwickau and Emden to date, the new production facility should bring noticeable relief to the tense production situation. Volkswagen plans to increase assembly of the electric ID4 in Chattanooga to at least 7,000 vehicles per month by the end of the year. In the medium term, more than 90,000 vehicles and more for the North American market are to be produced here. "We're just beginning to write a new chapter for Volkswagen in America and it's a very American story," said Volkswagen CEO Thomas Schäfer, "when we promised to make Volkswagen EVs accessible to millions of people, concluded we always bring in American workers to build these electric vehicles here in Chattanooga.”

For the production of the VW ID4 in the US state of Tennessee not only 800 million dollars were invested - especially for a new vehicle and battery assembly - but also 1,200 new workers were hired. On the US market in particular, local production also means regional components more than ever. The vehicle consists of materials and components that are assembled in eleven US states; from steel in Alabama and Ohio to interior parts in Indiana and South Carolina to electronic components in Kentucky and North Carolina. The battery pack in the underbody - optionally with 62 or 82 kWh - is supplied by SK Innovation in Georgia. And in the medium term, an electric model from the Chattanooga plant is unlikely to remain.