Volkswagen of America today marked the start of construction of its Battery Engineering Lab at its Chattanooga Engineering and Planning Center, Tennessee. The approximately $22 million dollar facility will test and validate electric vehicle cells and battery packs for the North American region.
The new lab will join Volkswagen Chattanooga’s under-construction 564,000 square-foot electric vehicle production expansion and 198,000 square-foot battery pack assembly facility to form Volkswagen’s hub for EV production and engineering here in the region. Volkswagen will test and optimize Georgia-manufactured battery cells at the new lab. This testing will include batteries for the Volkswagen ID.4 all-electric SUV, scheduled to begin U.S. production in 2022.
Besides increasing its engineering capabilities in the region, the engineering lab is also part of Volkswagen’s effort to localize all aspects of vehicle development and production – which lowers production costs and development cycles. Current battery testing and validation takes place in two labs in Germany, Braunschweig and Wolfsburg, along with Shanghai and Changchun, both in China. Testing and validating battery components in Chattanooga will allow engineers to more quickly apply lessons learned to local production.
“Testing batteries in the U.S. at this world-class lab helps us get vehicles to market faster, at lower cost and better tuned for U.S. customers,” said Dr. Wolfgang Demmelbauer-Ebner, EVP and Chief Engineering Officer, Volkswagen of America. “It also lets us ensure the safety and reliability of our batteries in conditions U.S. customers encounter every day.”