General Motors, the Detroit-based automotive industry giant, yesterday announced plans to invest $7 billion in Michigan to increase the production of electric vehicles and battery manufacturing. This decision represents the single biggest investment in the company’s history, leading to the creation of 4,000 jobs while retaining 1,000 in the process.
GM CEO Mary Barra was delighted to announce the news, saying “Today we are taking the next step in our continuous work to establish GM’s EV leadership by making investments in our vertically integrated battery production in the U.S., and our North American EV production capacity,” Barra outlined the reasons behind this unprecedented investment, declaring “We are building on the positive consumer response and reservations for our recent EV launches and debuts, including GMC Hummer EV, Cadillac Lyriq, Chevrolet Equinox EV, and Chevrolet Silverado EV. Our plan creates the broadest EV portfolio of any automaker and further solidifies our path toward U.S. EV leadership by mid-decade.”
The EV investments are set to focus on the Orion Assembly Plant north of Detroit, as well as a new plant in Lansing dedicated to manufacturing batteries. The Orion plant already manufactures the Chevrolet Bolt and Bolt EUV as it stands; assembly will continue as planned while the plant is overhauled to also build the Chevrolet Silverado EV and forthcoming GMC Sierra EV. It is expected that production of the trucks will begin in 2024, and it is set to become the third plant in GM’s portfolio for building Ultium-based EVs. Once the Orion plant is up and running, GM expects to have the capacity for manufacturing 1 million EVs a year from 2025.
The new battery plant meanwhile is a joint venture between GM and LG Energy Solution with the build expected to begin this summer. The Lansing plant will become GM’s third facility dedicated to Ultium battery production, and is expected to go online in 2024. The current plan will also see investments being made in two other Lansing-based facilities which are unconnected to EV development.
GM President Mark Reuss said Michigan was chosen for historical reasons due to existing relationships with suppliers, and for logistics purposes. Having heavy batteries manufactured near vehicle assembly locations makes sense, he noted, although he didn’t rule out future investments in other locations.