General Motors’ big Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly Plant, set to shut down barely a year ago, will instead become a key part of the automaker’s plan to go all-electric.
- GM plans to launch at least 20 battery-electric vehicles by the end of 2023.
- It has identified three: a new Cadillac SUV, a pickup likely to be called Hummer, and a driverless ride-sharing vehicle, the Cruise Origin.
- The Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly Plant was originally scheduled to close due to poor sales but will now serve as a key BEV manufacturing site.
GM President Mark Reuss on Monday announced plans to invest $2.2 billion in the factory, known locally as the “Poletown Plant.” That reverses a plan announced in November 2018 to shut the assembly line down, along with plants in Ohio and Ontario.
“This will become General Motors’ most technically advanced plant,” said Reuss, during a news conference at the factory.
The factory will undergo a complete makeover, starting up again in late 2021 with an all-electric pickup GM has now confirmed will be called the GMC Hummer. It will be followed in early 2022 by the fully driverless Cruise Origin shuttle targeting autonomous ride-share service, according to Reuss.
The Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly Plant was one of three GM assembly lines originally scheduled to close. It was saved to become a key EV manufacturing site. (Photo: General Motors)
GM’s new BEV3 “architecture” will support “multiple brands, with multiple variants, with multiple customers (offering) different ranges of performance at different price points to meet customers wherever they are,” said Reuss. That will permit the plant to handle a large share of the 20 BEVs GM plans to put into production by 2023.
Along with the Detroit assembly plant it has opened up a new battery lab and last month announced it will set up a $2.3 billion factory in Lordstown, Ohio to build batteries as part a joint venture with South Korea’s LG Chem. GM is already building the Chevrolet Bolt EV at another Detroit-area plant. An ongoing expansion will allow it to build the electric Cadillac SUV debuting this year, along with other EVs.
The factory will produce the Cruise Origin, a driverless ride-sharing vehicle, as well as an all-electric pickup. (Photo: General Motors)
General Motors CEO Mary Barra has repeatedly announced that the company is “on a path to an all-electric future.” But Reuss declined to lay out a timetable for GM’s evolution into an EV manufacturer, cautioning that it’s far too early to say how quickly the technology will connect with consumers.
One factor will be pressure from global regulators around the world. But BEVs have to continue dropping in price, even as range grows longer and a public charging network falls into place, Reuss stressed.
GM’s other EV plant will build a new SUV for Cadillac. (Image: General Motors)
Things are moving in the right direction, according to a new study by the Boston Consulting Group that forecasts that battery-based vehicles will account for 51% of U.S. sales by 2030. Other studies have suggested total industry spending on electrification will top $100 billion by mid-decade.
WHY THIS MATTERS
With the addition of a second plant devoted solely to battery-car production, GM is clearly showing its commitment to bring more product to market over the next few years. And by offering a broad range of models it hopes to boost consumer interest in the green technology.