The German automaker has plans for plug-in recharging stations in the parking lot of its Chattanooga plant.

VW-LogoWhile Volkswagen AG powers up its electric vehicle efforts, the German automaker has plans for plug-in recharging stations in the parking lot of its Chattanooga plant.

VW Chairman Martin Winterkorn said in San Francisco this week that 3 percent of the VW brand’s sales worldwide will be hybrid or all-electric by 2018.

VW hybrids will include the Touareg sport utility vehicle this year and Jetta for 2012, while it will launch in 2013 an all-electric E-Up and E-Golf, he said.

Jason Payne of the Chattanooga public works department said Tuesday an area in VW’s employee parking lot will include a dozen recharging stations.

“It helps them with LEED,” he said at a meeting of the city’s Industrial Development Board. VW is seeking Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design status for its plant.

The site would be the South’s first auto assembly plant and only the second nationally to gain the LEED badge, according to the U.S. Green Building Council.

The development board approved a change order of $237,000 to a contract with East Tennessee Grading Inc., which is helping build the vast employee parking lot. East Tennessee Grading’s contract on the lot is $10.4 million.

Mr. Payne said the lot will hold about 2,000 parking spaces and is close to completion though some landscaping might be carried out later.

Steve Leach, the city’s public works administrator, told the board an estimated 4,300 workers building the plant along with employees and others are now at the Enterprise South industrial park site.

“To look at the parking lot, it’s almost full in front of the training center,” he said. Builders often park at another location near the plant.

Ted Mills, the board’s chairman, asked in light of the parking lot’s size if a shuttle will take employees to the plant.

Mr. Leach said he is unsure, but noted that a pedestrian bridge will be built over a small stream leading from the parking lot to the assembly plant.

VW plans to start production early next year.

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Source: Chattanooga Times Free Press
Photo: Volkswagen of America