CHATTANOOGA, TN—Volkswagen of America started construction on its $800 million electric vehicle production facility in Chattanooga, Tennessee that will include battery pack assembly.

When production begins in 2022, the plant will be Volkswagen's North American assembly base for electric vehicles. Volkswagen’s investment will require the addition of about 1,000 jobs.

The expansion of the plant includes a 564,000-square-foot addition to the body shop. Volkswagen will build both internal combustion engine vehicles as well as battery electric vehicles on the same assembly line.The company also announced it intends to build a 198,000–square-foot plant for the assembly of battery packs for EVs at the Chattanooga site.

“This is a big, big moment for this company,” says 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.”

Tom du Plessis, Volkswagen Chattanooga CEO, says 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 needed for ramping up production.

“Electric vehicle and electric vehicle battery production require new and different technical skills than those we currently use,” says du Plessis. “We're working with our colleagues abroad, as well as with the Volkswagen Academy, to ensure our team members are well-prepared.”

In January 2019, Volkswagen Chattanooga was announced as Volkswagen’s North American base for manufacturing electric vehicles and currently employs approximately 3,800 team members. Volkswagen currently builds the midsize Atlas SUV and the Passat sedan at the Chattanooga factory. A five-seat version of the Atlas, the Atlas Cross Sport, began production in in October.