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Volkswagen investing $800 million, adding 1,000 jobs at Tennessee plant

Volkswagen is expanding its operations in Tennessee.

Rendering courtesy of Volkswagen AG

Volkswagen is spending $800 million to expand its Chattanooga, Tennessee plant as the company readies for large-scale battery-powered electric vehicle (BEV) production. The plan calls for the addition of 1,000 jobs and 564,000 square feet of space.

"This is a big, big moment for this company," said Scott Keogh, president and CEO of Volkswagen Group of America. "Expanding local production sets the foundation for our sustainable growth in the U.S. Electric vehicles are the future of mobility and Volkswagen will build them for millions, not just millionaires."

The Chattanooga plant will be Volkwagen's U.S. base for BEV production. The company rolled out long-range EV production earlier this month at its Zwickau, Germany plant. The production version of the ID CROZZ will initially be assembled in Germany but production will move to Chattanooga in 2022 when the expansion opens.

That doesn't meant that the entire plant is converting to BEV production. Volkswagen will continue to built both internal combustion engine vehicles as well as BEVs on the same assembly line.

VW currently builds its midsize Atlas SUV and Passat sedan in Chattanooga. The forthcoming Atlas Cross Sport, sporting the redesigned "R" logo, will also be assembled there.

Previously, Volkswagen has announced plans to build a 198,000-square-foot battery pack assembly plant at the Chattanooga site.

"With Volkswagen's expansion, Tennessee is on the cutting edge of the move to electric vehicles and our workforce is up to the challenge." Tennessee Gov. Lee said. "We look forward to a continued partnership with VW and the growth of advanced manufacturing in Chattanooga and beyond."

Ambassador Haber added, "The United States plays an absolutely central role in German carmakers' global activities. German carmakers like Volkswagen have already invested here, in Tennessee and in the U.S. as whole, creating jobs and training young employees. I wish Volkswagen of America and this new facility for electric vehicles all the best and a lot of success."

Tom du Plessis, Volkswagen Chattanooga CEO, said the expansion signals the start of new, high-tech processes in the plant. Hiring for the new assembly will begin in early 2020 and will continue as production ramps up. Positions added for the expansion include supervisors, specialists and a variety of engineers specializing in electrical, software, mechanical, manufacturing, chemical and quality control.

Volkswagen vehicles have been sold in the U.S. for the last 70 years.

Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG

In 1949, Ben Pon, a Dutch businessman, arrived in New York with precious cargo - two Volkswagen Type 1 models, later known as the Beetle. Pon was one of the first to attempt to sell a Volkswagen to Americans and now, 70 years on, 17 million have been sold.

Let's take a trip down memory lane.

1949 Volkswagen Beetle

Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG

In post-World War II Europe, the Volkswagen Beetle was well on its way to being one of the most popular vehicles on the continent. Its efficient packaging and air-cooled engine helped it win a fan base. The 25-horsepower Beetle shown here is identical to the one Pon first imported to the U.S. in 1949.

1954 Volkswagen Type 2 Bus

Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG

Telefunken, a German radio company, painted their logo on the side of the Volkswagen Type 2 Bus and used it as a delivery van. This is the Panel Delivery version of the Bus, which features a modified version of the Beetle's floorpan and the same 30-hp flat-four engine.

1963 Volkswagen Karmann Ghia

Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG

German coach builder Karmann built this Volkswagen coupe, adding sporty style to the German automaker's lineup. Like the Type 2 Bus before it, the Karmann Ghia used the same engine as the Beetle, a 34-horsepower four-cylinder, for the 1963 model year.

1967 Volkswagen Type 2 21-Window Bus

Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG

This is a copy of the highly sought-after 21-Window "Samba" version of the Volkswagen Type 2 21-Window Bus. It features a white-on-orange paint scheme. In the U.S., 23-window variants were known as the Sunroof Deluxe. Instead of a sliding door, the Samba as two pivot doors.

1973 Volkswagen Squareback

Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG

Like the modern crossover, the Squareback wagon sought to prove that smaller vehicles would still haul a family. This '73 has storage under the hood and in the back. The model has 65 horsepower and was one of the first vehicles to have fuel injection technology.

1973 Volkswagen Thing

Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG

This Thing wasn't designed to be part of the Addams family. The original concept was meant to be a military vehicle European nations. Called the Type 181, that model was off-road friendly. By the time the vehicle came to the U.S., the 46-horsepower convertible was marketed as "Thing."

1977 Volkswagen Dasher

Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG

The Dasher was designed to be a more premium model than the Beetle. Known as the Passat in Europe, the Dasher came in sedan, hatchback, and wagon variants. It was front-wheel drive and powered by a water-cooled four-cylinder engine that achieved 78 horsepower. Volkswagen produced the car for sale in the U.S. as the B1 from 1973-1981. It was the sister model of the Audi 80.

1979 Volkswagen Super Beetle

Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG

The Super Beetle marked the end of the original Beetle era. It was the last of original generation to be sold in the U.S. The Type 1 continued to be manufactured for sale at the company's Puebla, Mexico plant until 2003, 65 years after it for launched. This model is owned by Volkswagen and has less than 1,000 miles on its 48 horsepower four-cylinder engine.

1981 Volkswagen Scirocco

Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG

The less-sexy Scirocco succeeded the Karmann Ghia in Volkswagen's lineup. It was a Giugiaro-designed coupe that started production in 1974 and ended its run in 1982, only to be revived in 2008. The Scirocco's production ended in 2017. This 74-hosepower model had fewer than 1,000 miles on it.

1982 Volkswagen Jetta Mk1

Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG

Volkswagen offered the Jetta as a sedan alternative to the Golf/Rabbit. The first generation of the model delivered European design and fuel efficiency. Soon after its debut in 1979 the model became the best-selling European car in the United States, Canada, and Mexico. Its 76-horsepower engine was paired with either a five-speed manual or three-speed automatic transmission.

1984 Volkswagen Rabbit GTI

Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG

The 1974, Volkswagen became selling the Golf MK1 as a front-wheel-drive, long-range replacement for the Beetle. It was known as the Volkswagen Rabbit GTI in the U.S. The Golf is still produced today for sale around the world.

1998 Volkswagen Beetle "New Beetle"

Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG

The Beetle returned as a modern car in 1997. It contained some of the quirky attributes that played on the heritage of the model including a dashboard-mounted flower bud vase. The New Beetle was in production until July 2019 as the automaker began to shift toward more electric vehicle production.

2019 Volkswagen Atlas

Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG

Production of the Volkswagen Atlas began in 2017 in Chattanooga, Tennessee. The three-row SUV was brought to market as a 2018 model. The Atlas is known as the Volkswagen Teramont in China, the Middle East, Russia, Mexico, and Rwanda.

Nissan Leaf and Leaf Plus owners can charge their vehicles via EVgo stations.

Photo courtesy of Nissan North America

Earlier this year, Nissan and EVgo announced a new investment in America's charging infrastructure. Now, the two companies have announced a new program, Nissan Energy Perks by EVgo. The program provides $250 of pre-paid charging credits that can be used on the EVgo charging network for new Nissan Leaf owners and lessees.

"Nissan is a long-time leader in electric vehicles and this new partnership with EVgo will give Nissan LEAF owners confidence powered by tens of thousands of chargers across America," said Aditya Jairaj, director, EV sales and marketing, Nissan North America. "Convenient access to public chargers can be incredibly helpful for LEAF owners in their day-to-day lives."

The EVgo changing network is made up of more than 750 public charging stations. At those stations there are a total of 30,000 public EV chargers including 1,200 fast chargers.

This offer is only available in select markets including:

  • Albany-Schenectady-Troy Albuquerque-Santa Fe Atlanta
  • Austin
  • Bakersfield
  • Baltimore
  • Boston (Manchester)
  • Burlington-Plattsburgh
  • Charleston, SC
  • Charlotte
  • Chattanooga
  • Chicago
  • Chico-Redding
  • Cincinnati
  • Cleveland-Akron (Canton)
  • Colorado Springs-Pueblo
  • Columbia, SC
  • Columbus, OH
  • Dallas-Ft. Worth
  • Denver
  • Detroit
  • Eugene
  • Fresno-Visalia
  • Ft. Myers-Naples
  • Ft. Smith-Fayetteville-Springdale-Rogers, AR
  • Greenville-Spartanburg-Asheville-Anderson
  • Harrisburg-Lancaster-Lebanon-York, PA
  • Hartford & New Haven, CT
  • Honolulu
  • Houston
  • Indianapolis
  • Jacksonville
  • Kansas City
  • Knoxville
  • Las Vegas
  • Los Angeles
  • Madison, WI
  • Miami-Ft. Lauderdale
  • Milwaukee
  • Monterey-Salinas, CA
  • Nashville
  • New York
  • Orlando-Daytona Beach-Melborne
  • Palm Springs
  • Philadelphia
  • Phoenix (Prescott)
  • Pittsburgh, PA
  • Portland, OR
  • Portland-Auburn, ME
  • Providence-New Bedford
  • Raleigh-Durham (Fayettville)
  • Reno
  • Sacramento-Stockton-Modesto
  • Salisbury, MA
  • Salt Lake City
  • San Diego
  • San Francisco-Oakland
  • San Jose
  • Santa Barbara-San Margarita-San Luis Obispo
  • Seattle-Tacoma
  • Spokane
  • Springfield-Holyoke, MA
  • St. Louis
  • Tampa-St. Petersburg (Sarasota)
  • Tucson (Sierra Vista)
  • Washington, DC (Hagerstown)
  • West Palm Beach-Ft. Pierce

"The future of driving is electric, and EVgo is focused on delivering reliable and convenient fast charging for everyone," said Cathy Zoi, CEO of EVgo. "Anyone who has tried an EV loves it, and EVgo and Nissan are making it easier for more drivers to make the switch to an electric vehicle."

Leaf owners traveling where the EVgo network isn't as extensively built up can utilize the company's roaming access to ChargePoint chargers. ChargePoint has more than 28,000 Level 2 chargers and 300 fast chargers equipped with a CHAdeMO connector.

Recently, EVgo announced partnerships with Electrify America and EV Connect to expand its customers' charging network availability.

According to EVgo, more than 100 million Americans live within a 15-minute drive of an EVgo fast charger.

The 2019 Nissan Leaf offers 150 miles of all-electric range and starts at $29,990. The 2019 Leaf Plus has 216 miles of range and starts at $36,550. The listed price of both models is before any federal, state, or local tax incentives have been applied.

More than 100 million Americans currently live within a 15-minute drive of an EVgo fast charger, including those built in partnership with Nissan along the I-95 corridor on the East Coast and along the DRIVEtheARC corridor in California from Monterey to Lake Tahoe.