Volkswagen switches on solar park in Chattanooga, Tennessee

Article by Anita Panait, on January 25, 2013

Volkswagen AG has powered up its largest solar park worldwide in Chattanooga, Tennessee. The carmaker’s largest photo-voltaic installation, occupying around 33 acres, sits next to its plant in Chattanooga, where it builds the Passat mid-sized sedan for the United States market. The solar park now supplies 13 percent of the plant’s energy needs during production hours, Volkswagen said.

Frank Fischer, head of VW's Chattanooga operations, described the installation as the biggest solar park of any car manufacturer in North America. According to Volkswagen, the plant, which could produce 9.5 megawatts of electric power, will supply all the plant's electricity needs when manufacturing lines are not operating.

The Chattanooga plant, which was launched in May 2011, is the first in the industry with top-level platinum Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification from the U.S. Green Building Council, an environmental group that assesses properties on how well they limit effects on the environment. Silicon Ranch Corp. will own the solar park and sell the electricity to Volkswagen under a 20-year supply deal.

According to the carmaker, German company Phoenix Solar AG built the photo-voltaic system. Volkswagen’s main plant in Wolfsburg and a site in Emden, Germany also harness electric power from solar plants.

The all-new 2012 Volkswagen Passat is the latest mid-size luxury sedan to come from the German automaker. This mid-size sedan has space and comfort similar to full-size models, giving a remarkable and best-in-class convenience. It also comes with an expanded rear-seat legroom and trunk space.

Volkswagen Passat TDI version is the lone choice if you want a manual transmission sedan with a clean diesel option. It consumes about 45 miles per gallon on the highway with a range of 800 miles. It’s like driving a distance of New York to Chicago or from San Francisco to Seattle.

Passat was built in Chattanooga, Tenn., where environmental responsibility is a focus. At the plant, the painting process utilizes no filler, cutting 20% of CO2 emissions.

2012 Passat has a $19,995 MSRP for a five-cylinder model. It comes with standard dual-zone climate control, Bluetooth connectivity, and steering wheel audio controls. Most importantly, it is covered under Volkswagen’s 3-year or 36,000-mile Carefree Maintenance program to undergo scheduled maintenance for free.

Walter De Silva, the Italian design chief for the Volkswagen Group, and Klaus Bischoff, the German design leader for the Volkswagen Brand, developed the all new Volkswagen Design DNA. They created balanced proportions of its elements, giving it style that’s one-of-a-kind, timeless, and prominent.

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Topics: vw, plant, united states

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