Volkswagen's efforts to ramp up sales of electric vehicles include opening a new factory in North America that's dedicated to building EVs. Though the plant's location hasn't yet been disclosed or even decided, VW announced Thursday that the facility will open by 2022.
"There is no decision done so far," Thomas Ulbrich, Volkswagen's board member for e-mobility, told reporters here in Dresden, Germany. "We think there's a natural fit to Chattanooga, but there's no planning done so far."
He's referring there to Volkswagen's existing US manufacturing facility, in Chattanooga, Tennessee, which was inaugurated in 2011. But Ulbrich didn't deny that the EV plant could also be in Mexico.
The automaker intends to have 16 electric-car production plants globally by 2022, which will require a 34 billion euro ($40 billion) investment. Many of those facilities will be in China, of which two will be new, which will help Volkswagen avoid taxes on selling its EVs in that market. But others will be spread out across Europe and, once the new plant is built, North America.
Volkswagen already builds the e-Golf electric car in plants in Wolfsburg and Dresden. Next year, it will begin converting the massive Zwickau plant in Germany from building only internal-combustion vehicles to building only all-electric ones. From the end of 2020, Zwickau will have the capacity to produce as many as 330,000 EVs per year. The first cars assembled there are expected to be VW's new and crossover.