German automobile giant Volkswagen AG has unveiled plans for a new fleet of electric vehicles in the US. The landmark project is reported to cost a whopping $800 million and will be launched from its current manufacturing plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee.
The move is being made amidst talks with Ford Motors, hinting at a global collaboration. Volkswagen has remained a household name synonyous with posh and quality car travel since its establishment in 1937 but has received its fair share of bad press over the years.This includes the recent gaffe by CEO Herbert Diess who carelessly blurted a Nazi-era term, ‘’ Ebit macht frei’’, which translates to profits will set you free, during a boardroom meeting. The head executive has since apologized for the blunder, but enraged staff are still calling for his ouster.
On a lighter note, the expanded car production plant in Tennessee is expected to offer a large opening of jobs upon its scheduled opening in 2022. It aims to serve as a frontline example in the global industrial initiative in phasing out fossil fuel for renewable and more sustainable alternatives.
Upon recent pressure from US President Trump in hiking tariffs on European-manufactured cars, Volkswagen seems to be strategizing a goodwill effort through its Tennessee operation. This plant forms a part of the company’s hefty $50 -billion dollar plan of electric restructuring for all its models and along with the provision of quality digital services for its customers.
The first model to be released from the Chattanooga plant is the I. D. Crozz, which will be installed with the patented Volkswagen Modular Electric Drive Matrix (MEB) for the comfortable driving experience and safety that Volkswagen customers have come to trust.
Additionally, with technological advancements, the concept of autonomous-driving cars has been placed within a much clearer perspective. The latest models in the Volkswagen chain of EVs will feature state-of-the-art steering that allows seamless transition between fully-autonomous (I.D. Pilot) and non-autonomous driving modes.
According to market reports, the latest I.D. technology will enable drivers to control vehicles via the detection of sensory motion simply by tapping the VW logo on the steering wheel for three- seconds.
The plant in Chattanooga is set to be a proving ground for Volkswagen since it remains the only US VW assembly plant. Despite recent talks in seeking a location for a second plant, the company has decided to expand its only facility.
News of the upcoming wave of electric vehicles has remained well-received. As reported by Reuters, Tennessee governor Bill Haslam stated, “We obviously think electric vehicles are going to play a more and more prominent role.’’
The electric vehicle scene is only going to get more competitive as other big players in the automobile market are gearing up to break onto the scene with high tech models such as the Audi e-tron and Mercedes Benz EQC. Additionally, at the time of this writing, there have been reports on bids for unionization of workers at the Chattanooga assembly plant, leading to discussions for a scheduled 2-day election process beginning on the 29th of April.
Volkswagen AG has been mired by corporate setbacks and stiff competition in recent times, but could the watershed move at Tennessee be a sign of great things to come? 2020 holds the answer.