Volvo Cars broke ground Friday on a new technical center specifically for electric vehicles at its headquarters in Mahwah, N.J.
The 12,800-square-foot facility is expected to open next March and will be used to train dealership technicians from the U.S., Canada and South America.
Anders Gustafsson, Volvo’s senior vice president of the Americas and president of Volvo Car USA, declined to say how much the automaker is investing in the new training center, but indicated it is a major project. The center will be located on a 20-acre parcel of land and have 50 charging stations. Some of those charging stations could eventually be made available to the public.
Gustafsson, speaking via video with Automotive News, said the training center is vital to Volvo’s plans to transition to an all-EV future.
The company’s 280 U.S. dealerships, he said, are short roughly 200 technicians.
“We need to attract new technicians. The industry is struggling,” Gustafsson said. “We have decided now is the time to take care of everything that is related to customer service.”
Volvo last summer announced a $118 million investment in its Ridgeville, S.C., assembly plant to build EVs, including vehicles for the Polestar performance brand and an electric version of the XC90 crossover. The company plans to go fully electric by 2030.
“If we as a manufacturer don’t invest in a facility where our technicians are going to work, I can tell you that our dealers will not do it either. So, this is a cultural approach,” Gustafsson said. “They — our dealer partners — have done an excellent job, but I see that some are a little bit behind. Now it is time to take those steps.”
The new facility will be Volvo’s sixth technical training center in North America.