General Motors announced a $7 billion investment in growing its electric vehicle manufacturing capabilities in Michigan, calling it “the single largest investment announcement in GM history.”
The company will spend the money on four manufacturing sites, with plans to create 4,000 new jobs and retain another 1,000 in the state. The investment includes construction of a new battery cell plant in Lansing and the conversion of GM’s assembly plant in Orion for production of the Chevy Silverado EV and the electric GMC Sierra. The latter will be GM’s second assembly plant scheduled to build full-size electric pickups, the first being the company’s Factory Zero in Detroit.
GM has said it will spend $35 billion by 2025 on electric and autonomous vehicles, a staggering sum for a company that until recently was known for its big, gas-guzzling trucks and SUVs. It’s also a sign of GM’s continued confidence in the growth of the EV market, despite representing only 3 percent of sales in the US over the last year.
GM has set a goal to become a carbon-neutral company by the year 2040, which would mean halting sales of light-duty diesel and gasoline vehicles by 2035. Having a ready supply of batteries is, therefore, a fundamental concern for GM’s future.
Currently, the company’s electric lineup is small, consisting of only three vehicles: the Chevy Bolt, the Chevy Bolt EUV, and the Hummer EV truck. GM has announced several upcoming EVs, including the electric Hummer SUV, Chevy Silverado EV, Chevy Equinox EV, Chevy Blazer EV, GMC Sierra EV, Cadillac Lyriq, Cadillac Celestiq, and the Cruise Origin autonomous shuttle.
GM will need a lot of batteries to fill all these EVs, so it is expanding its manufacturing footprint along with its partner, South Korea’s LG Chem. GM and LG have already announced plans to build two battery factories in the US — one in Ohio and the other in Tennessee.
The factory conversion in Orion and the third battery facility in Lansing will enable GM to increase its “total full-size electric truck production capacity to 600,000 trucks when both Factory ZERO and Orion facilities are fully ramped,” the company said. In addition, the company is investing in its two Lansing-area vehicle assembly plants for near-term product enhancements.