A Car Plant that Reaches for the Moon Pies

By Bridgett Lynn

Chattanooga, Tennessee is more than just the mother of Moon Pies; she has a newborn car plant too. Born this year, she named it Village Volkswagen of Chattanooga.

This billion dollar baby is not your average car plant. Most car plants hurt our environment, but VW of Chattanooga is the first LEED platinum auto plant in the world. And only makes the Passat, “2012 Motor Trend Car of the Year.”

Satisfied? Baby VW isn’t.

Let’s talk about his body shop. VW welds cars together using servo guns instead of air pressure. This new way of welding is more efficient and less costly.

To cool off welding tips, VW uses rainwater instead of city water. The rainwater gets collected from selected roof areas to supply water for daily operations at the car plant and saves 350,000 gallons of water every month.

That amount of water is enough to fill 7 Olympic swimming pools in one year!

What really makes baby VW special is his paint shop.

VW’s paint process reduces CO2 emissions by 20%. In the paint shop, VW cleans the cars from oils and other materials that came from the body shop, then gets it prepared for electro coating after its phosphate bath.

This process reduces water use by 50,000 gallons a day! That’s about 12.5 million gallons of water saved per year.

VW is also the world’s first to utilize a dry-scrubber system to collect paint overspray. Other moms have to clean up after their babies because they use water to collect overspray, but VW’s eco dry scrubber produces no liquid paint sludge.

VW collects paint overspray with powdered limestone which is taken to a manufacturer and used to make concrete.

One step VW skips in the paint process is the primer coat. This saves energy and paint.

After he finishes painting his cars, he plays with them in the assembly line. Adding a sunroof, stereo, doors, seat belts, and of course a clean diesel engine.

Once VW puts on the wheels, he is ready to ship 550 to 600 cars a day. Eighty-five percent of the cars are loaded on rail instead of trucks which cuts down on environmental costs. On average, trains are four times more fuel efficient than trucks.

VW is also the first in the United States to use all energy-saving LED outdoor lighting. The LED street lights surrounding VW’s crib save about 100,000 kilo-watt-hours per year and reduce light pollution in the night skies.

Think your baby’s awesome?

Visit PlanetForward.org today to see more of the future.



2 thoughts on “A Car Plant that Reaches for the Moon Pies

  1. Nicely done, Bridgett! You found a fun balance between weird and informative that kept me reading. Great incorporation of photos and links.



  2. Frank Sesno says:

    Great work, Bridgett. Love the attitude, the short punchy sentences, the personification of Chattanooga, the links and the data. Yes, you put real information in here even as you take a strong point of view. This blog, like the video, gets very close to boosterism and that’s something you can modulate through tone and presentation. For example, you could put a playful finger wag into the piece by saying something like, “Now, VW, don’t get overly boastful here. Yes, you’ve built a greener, cleaner plant, but you’re still building fossil fuel burning, internal combustion, congestion-causing cars. We love ’em, but they’re both our blessing and our curse.” Something a little playful but that also has a message. Overall, great blog, though. Love it.

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