Volkswagen of America will build a 198,000-square-foot factory next door to its Chattanooga Assembly plant to assemble battery packs for its upcoming line of battery electric vehicles, the automaker said Nov. 13.
The announcement was made in conjunction with the groundbreaking ceremony for an $800 million expansion of the Chattanooga Assembly plant to allow the operation to make electric vehicles based on Volkswagen's global electrical architecture. Currently, the plant builds the three-row Atlas crossover, two-row Atlas Cross Sport crossover and Volkswagen Passat sedan.
About 1,000 jobs are expected to be added to the plant as a result of the $800 million investment, which will include a 564,000-square-foot addition to the body shop. Volkswagen will build internal combustion engine vehicles and battery electric vehicles on the same assembly line.
The automaker plans to begin production of the ID4 compact EV crossover in Chattanooga in 2022. The ID4 is expected to go on sale in the U.S. late next year, but early production will be in Volkswagen's plant in Zwickau, Germany.
The battery cells for the ID4 and subsequent EV vehicles assembled in Chattanooga will come from a newly built $1.7 billion SK Innovation Co. plant under construction in Commerce, Ga., northeast of Atlanta.
South Korea-based SK Innovation began construction of its Georgia plant in late 2018, announcing at the time it expects to employ 2,000 to make lithium ion batteries equal to 9.8 gigawatt-hours per year by 2022. At the time, it did not reveal its customer.
SK says it supplies the entire value chain for lithium ion batteries, from the film separator to the entire battery pack. It also has a proprietary separator technology in which a ceramic coating is applied to a thin polyethylene material, allowing for thinner film with higher strength, stability and heat resistance.