This goes beyond just building cars.
Despite industry-wide setbacks caused by the coronavirus pandemic, 2020 was a big year for Volkswagen in the US. Both the electric VW ID.4 and Taos compact SUV were revealed, while the new Atlas Cross Sport went on sale. But what not everyone may be fully aware of is the German automaker's numerous infrastructure projects that also got underway.
Just this month, it announced a new 51-vehicle charge park at its Innovation and Engineering Center in Silicon Valley, which now has one of the largest publically accessible charge parks in the Bay Area, a hotbed for EVs. In November, construction got underway in Chattanooga, Tennessee, already home of US manufacturing, of a new Battery Engineering Lab.
Upon completion, it will join the new plant section that's also under construction where EVs like the ID.4 will be built. VW is investing $800 million in the US for the sole purpose of building EVs. Last October came the announcement of a new Virginia headquarters where all US-based employees will work from beginning in 2023.
July saw three significant events take place: a new engineering campus opened at the California test center and the activation of one of the most extensive EV charging stations at its Arizona proving grounds. This 50-vehicle charging station allows engineers to better evaluate battery and charging performance in extremely hot weather conditions.
The third event was the completed $150 million expansion of its Baltimore, Maryland port operations. This is VW's eighth port in the US and it will now import about 120,000 vehicles every year. "It's important that the infrastructure supporting our products continues to grow in the US as we aim to deliver more vehicles designed in the market, for the market at the right time and at the right price," said Johan de Nysschen, VW USA's Chief Operating Officer.
VW views the US market as a vital component of its global expansion strategy not only in terms of sales volume but also for R&D progress that will benefit the automaker as a whole.