It was only last September when Dearborn, Mich.-based Ford Motor Co. angered its home state by announcing an $11.4 billion investment to build plants producing electric vehicles and batteries in Kentucky and Tennessee. On Tuesday, General Motors Co. announced the single biggest manufacturing investment in its history to boost its own plan to expand EV and battery production—in the same state as its Detroit headquarters.
In announcing the total of $7 billion GM plans to spend in Michigan to expand electric vehicle and battery company production company chair and CEO Mary Barra made plain the automaker’s intention to “make our home state the epicenter of the electric vehicle industry.”
Perhaps carrying just a bit of chip after her state had been spurned in the past when it lost out to the south for some previous manufacturing investments, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer, who spoke after Barra at the Lansing event, offered a bit of back at ya declaring, “We proved the doubters and cynics wrong. We showed everyone we could compete for transformational projects. We can win billions of investments and thousands of jobs.”
Indeed GM said its mega investment will result in 4,000 new jobs and retaining another 1,000.
For GM, these new investments are a major step in its stated march to become an all-EV automaker.
Here’s how the $7 billion breaks down:
- $4 billion to convert the Orion, Mich. Assembly plant to produce electric versions of the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra pickup trucks. Production of the Bolt EV and Bolt EUV will continue during the conversion. GM expects the move will result in 2,350 new jobs and retention of about 1,000 jobs when the plant is fully operational.
- $2.6 billion investment by GM and LG Energy Solution’s Ultium Cells joint venture to build its third U.S. battery cell production plant in Lansing. More than 1,700 new jobs will be created when the plant is expected to opens in 2024.
- $510 million investment in two existing Lansing-area plants that are not building electric vehicles:
- Lansing Grand River Assembly: Plant upgrades
- Lansing Delta Township Assembly: Production of the next-generation Chevrolet Traverse and Buick Enclave.
“When both plants are fully ramped on three shifts of production our total full-size EV truck production capacity will be about 600 thousand trucks a year and altogether we will have more than a million units of EV capability in North America by the end of 2025,” said Barra.
Orion Assembly joins Factory Zero, located in Detroit and Hamtramck in producing electric pickups starting in 2024. Other GM North American plants currently building or are being converted to produce electric vehicles are Spring Hill Assembly in Spring Hill, Tenn., CAMI in Ingersoll, Ontario and Ramos Arizpe Assembly in Mexico.
In its stated intent to eventually go all-in on electric vehicles GM projects it will convert half of its North American assembly capacity to EV production by 2030.
Barra expressed confidence it’s a gamble that will pay off, declaring, “We know the demand is here. We have had great response from hundreds of thousands of customers interested in our EVs we’ve already shown and more to follow.”