Volkswagen to test EV batteries in the US
Breaks ground on new battery engineering lab in Tennessee Metal Tech News – Nov. 11, 2020
Last updated 11/10/2020 at 7:42pm
Volkswagen of America Nov. 10 broke ground on a US$22 million battery engineering lab that will test and validate electric vehicle cells at its Chattanooga Engineering and Planning Center in Tennessee.
The new battery lab, which will test and validate lithium-ion battery cells for the North American market, will join Volkswagen's 564,000 square-foot EV production expansion and 198,000 square-foot battery pack assembly facility to form Volkswagen's hub for EV production and engineering at Chattanooga.
This facility will test and optimize battery cells manufactured for Volkswagen in the state of Georgia.
"Testing batteries in the U.S. at this world-class lab helps us get vehicles to market faster, at lower cost and better tuned for U.S. customers," said Volkswagen of America Chief Engineering Officer Wolfgang Demmelbauer-Ebner. "It also lets us ensure the safety and reliability of our batteries in conditions U.S. customers encounter every day."
Batteries tested and optimized at the lab go into American made EVs such as the Volkswagen ID.4 all-electric SUV, scheduled to begin U.S. production in 2022.
Besides increasing its engineering capabilities in the region, the engineering lab is also part of Volkswagen's effort to localize all aspects of vehicle development and production – which lowers production costs and development cycles.
Current battery testing and validation takes place at labs in Germany and China. Testing and validating battery components in Chattanooga will allow engineers to more quickly apply lessons learned to local production.
It will also help to bolster the Tennessee economy as it becomes an increasingly important center for EV production.
"Volkswagen of America continues to be an industry leader and core to our Tennessee economy," said Tennessee Governor Bill Lee. "I am pleased that VW selected Tennessee as the site of its newest battery lab in the world and the only lab in the U.S. This is a significant development for our growing tech scene and our Tennessee workforce is ready for the challenge."
The Chattanooga lab will include pressure and immersion testers, corrosion chambers, five explosion-rated climate chambers and a custom, two-ton multi-axis shaker table, which is designed to test the integrity of vehicle components in some of the roughest conditions they might face on the road.
In addition to stress testing battery components, VW engineers at the Chattanooga facility will look for more ways to integrate locally produced components into the production process.
"I'm proud that Chattanooga was chosen as the site to undertake this critical effort to ensure the safety of electric vehicle batteries," said Congressman Chuck Fleischmann. "It's an investment in the future of automotive systems that will keep Tennessee in the forefront of car manufacturing in the United States."