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We’ve long known that Volkswagen will produce electric vehicles in North America, but just where that production will take place remains unknown.
Volkswagen is keeping mum on whether the US’s Chattanooga plant or Mexico’s Puebla plant would get the nod, but, speaking at the 2017 L.A. Auto Show, Volkswagen USA’s chief engineering officer, Matthias Erb, revealed that the U.S. wing wants production to be American.
“We’re fighting for electric production in the U.S.,” said Erb, adding that adding an electric assembly line in Chattanooga would be relatively simple.
Admittedly, the same goes for Puebla, but Erb’s comments implied that when electric production begins, it will be alongside an existing plant.
The reason for that is relatively simple. It would allow both lines—electric and internal combustion—to use the same paint and body shop. And with supply lines already headed to the factories, it would ease logistics as well.
The dream said Erb would be to have electric cars and gas-powered cars on the same line, but the downsides outweigh the production upsides. That decision, though, was made back in the early days of electric planning and the conclusion led to the development of the MEB platform.
The electric equivalent to the MQB platform, the platform allows many distinct vehicles to be built on the same basic platform.
Effectively a big rectangle made of batteries with wheels and electric motors at either end, the platform underpins everything from the I.D. hatchback to the I.D. Buzz and will go under much more.
The I.D. Crozz, for instance, will be the first car in the U.S. to use the platform and is, therefore, a likely candidate for North American production.