General Motors Company, the largest American carmaker, announced billion dollar investments to make its upcoming range of battery electric vehicles (BEVs) and the lithium-ion battery packs that power them at plants in the United States originally slated for closure.
The struggling auto giant also said the move will create more than 2,200 good paying jobs in the U.S. GM will invest $2.2 billion to transform its Detroit-Hamtramck facility in Michigan into an automated factory using mostly robots to assemble BEVs, said GM president Mark Reuss on Monday. Detroit-Hamtramck will begin building a BEV pickup truck in late 2021. It will also produce the Chevrolet Cruise Origin self-driving electric shuttle. GM said Detroit-Hamtramck will be its first fully-dedicated EV assembly plant.
In addition, GM said it will invest $800 million in supplier tooling and related startup costs for BEV production. The refurbished Detroit-Hamtramck facility will create "more than 2,200 good-paying US manufacturing jobs" when it becomes fully operational.
GM will transform its Lordstown car factory to produce the lithium-ion cells that will power the BEVs built at Detroit-Hamtramck. GM has entered into a joint venture with LG Chem Ltd. to produce the battery packs. GM and LG Chem will invest $2.3 billion in the new battery factory in Lordstown.
LG Chem already operates LG Chem Michigan, a wholly owned subsidiary based in Holland, Michigan that manufactures advanced battery cells for EVs. The Holland plant can produce from 50,000 and 200,000 battery packs per year for BEVs and hybrid EVs such as the Chevrolet Volt.
To be made at the refurbished Detroit-Hamtramck facility will be the Chevy Cruise Origin self-driving electric shuttle. The Cruise Origin is also GM's first self-driving car and has no steering wheel or pedals. It was unveiled last week in San Francisco.
The announcement of the Cruise Origin was a key milestone for GM in its transition to driverless vehicles. Cruise Origin is the first purpose-built autonomous vehicle without traditional controls that will eventually go into mass production. It was designed with help from Honda Motor Company, Ltd., which is a major investor in GM subsidiary, Cruise.
In addition to the Cruise Origin, Detroit-Hamtramck will also make BEV SUVs and pickup trucks. GM plans to release 20 electric brands by 2023. The first of these will be an electric truck scheduled for production in 2021. The Cruise Origin will follow this later.
In October 2017, Reuss first revealed GM has a mass of new BEVs on the way, including two Chevy Bolt-based vehicles. IGM later admitted these two BEVs will be built in China strictly for the Chinese market.