Aerial shot of Volkswagen Chattanooga facilities.

Inside Chattanooga: The Road to Electrification

From the time Volkswagen first announced plans to open its U.S.-based automotive assembly plant in 2008 to today, Chattanooga has played a crucial role in VW’s journey toward electric mobility. Since 2012, Volkswagen has invested more than $3.5 billion in its Chattanooga operations, employed more than 4,000 individuals, and produced more than one million cars—all while positioning itself to become North America’s EV test hub.

As Volkswagen kicks off production of the first U.S. assembled, all‑electric ID.4, here’s a look back at all the key moments that defined Chattanooga’s EV transformation:

February 2009

Volkswagen breaks ground in Chattanooga

Volkswagen's vision to transform the auto industry in the U.S. is realized when construction kicked off in winter 2009 on a 1,400-acre plot of land where the Volkswagen Atlas and Passat would soon be assembled.

June 2010

Volkswagen Academy opens, ushering in fresh engineering talent

To help grow and upskill the next generation of automotive talent, Chattanooga opened an onsite academy. Since its opening, the Volkswagen AcademyOpens an external link  has trained more than 100 apprentices.  

Two participants at the Volkswagen Academy
April 2011

Chattanooga assembles its first vehicle—the Passat

A Night Blue Metallic Passat SEL made history as Chattanooga—and the U.S. market’s— first fully assembledOpens an external link  in the U.S. customer vehicle. U.S. consumers now had direct access to the beloved brand.

Volkswagen employees celebrate the first customer car assembled in Chattanooga
May 2011

The Volkswagen Chattanooga plant celebrates the grand opening

When Chattanooga came online in late spring 2011, it set the global standard for automotive manufacturing facilities by becoming the world’s first LEED-Platinum plant. 

Inside the Volkswagen Chattanooga facilities
January 2013

Chattanooga powers up its solar park

The VW solar park’s construction marked a pivotal moment in Chattanooga while signaling VW’s broader commitment to working toward a carbon neutral future. Today, 33,600 solar modules provide nearly 12.5% of the plant’s electricity.

Opening ceremony of the Volkswagen Chattanooga solar park
January 2015

Chattanooga’s plant expands to include the Atlas SUV 

Four years after opening, Chattanooga expanded its assembly plant to make way for its next chapter: developing the AtlasOpens an external link. Designed specifically for the U.S. market, this SUV remains VW’s biggest vehicle to-date. 

2022 Volkswagen Atlas
March 2018

Chattanooga announces its third model – the Atlas Cross Sport

In 2018, VW announced plansOpens an external link to produce its third model in Tennessee. The five-passenger Atlas Cross Sport provided U.S. consumers with more variety than ever before, and further cemented VW Chattanooga as an automotive hub.

Volkswagen Chattanooga Atlas announcement ceremony
January 2019

VW announces Chattanooga as North America’s future hub for EV assembly

Volkswagen solidified its commitment to an electric mobility future in 2019 by announcingOpens an external link Chattanooga as the hub for EV manufacturing and R&D.  

November 2019

Volkswagen breaks ground for electric vehicle and battery assembly

Chattanooga began constructionOpens an external link for two EV production facilities across its campus to open in 2022: a 564,000-square-foot addition to the body shop and a 198,000-square-foot plant for developing EV battery packs.

Rendering of Volkswagen Chattanooga facility expansion
June 2020

Volkswagen reaches a milestone of one million vehicles

Nearly 10 years after opening its doors, Chattanooga completedOpens an external link assembly of its one-millionth Volkswagen vehicle: the 2020 Passat. 

The one millionth vehicle on the assembly line in Chattanooga.
September 2020

Volkswagen announces Chattanooga will begin U.S. assembly of the ID.4 in 2022

When Volkswagen revealedOpens an external link  the all-new ID.4 electric SUV in fall 2020—the brand’s first long-range EV to be sold statesideChattanooga was named as the future site for U.S. assembly.

2021 Volkswagen ID.4 EV
November 2020

Ground break of Battery Engineering Lab (BEL)

Volkswagen began constructing a Battery Engineering Lab (BEL) at Chattanooga’s Engineering and Planning Center. The facility was designed to be the flagship facility for VW’s battery expertise in North America.

June 2022

BEL operations begin in Chattanooga

Two years after construction, Chattanooga officially openedOpens an external link the BEL. The facility is currently focused on testing EV batteries in extreme climate conditions to help optimize them for safety, durability, and quality. 

Battery testing chamber at the Volkswagen Chattanooga Battery Engineering Lab
July 2022

VW creates a supply chain for EV battery recycling in collaboration with Redwood Materials

In a significant step toward electric transformation, Volkswagen and Audi announcedOpens an external link a collaboration with Redwood Materials to create a supply chain for EV battery recycling.

Graphic depicting the lifecycle of a battery
July 2022

Volkswagen kicks off localized production of the first U.S.-assembled ID.4

Volkswagen Chattanooga officially began assembling its first all‑electric SUV: the ID.4. Assembly will ramp up to 7,000 vehicles per month, paving the way for greater national adoption of EVs.