Although it may seem like the ID electric vehicles are a European inevitability, engineering-wise, there’s a lot of fine tuning that still has to happen before the ID.4 can be ready for production in Chattanooga. That’s why VW has begun expanding its Chattanooga factory to include an EV engineering center.

The Engineering and Planning Center in Chattanooga, Tennessee, will feature a state-of-the-art high-voltage lab designed to develop and test EV cells and battery packs for upcoming models like the ID.4 that will be assembled in the US.

“There are two ways that auto companies approach the development of electric vehicle batteries,” said Wolfgang Maluche, Vice President of Engineering at Volkswagen of America. “A lot of them will farm out the development and testing of batteries to another company, and some will actually do the work of developing and testing in-house. We are doing the latter.

It’s important that VW do battery work from a specific lab to address specific concerns. VW says its lab will have an explosion-rated climate chamber and pressure testers and a multi-axis shaker table (MAST) to make sure that the battery is safe in every condition.

“The battery is not only shaking; it is going through a series of harsh conditions to test its durability in a variety of possible environments, from the South Pole to the Sahara,” said Jason Swager, the Director of Electrical Development. “We needed to build a MAST that could withstand the immense force and frequency that we need to test these batteries.”

Volkswagen wants to be able to open the lab in April 2021. It is being designed to be built to LEED standards for environmental impacts in accordance with VW’s goal of reaching carbon neutrality by 2050.