General Motors to spend $7 billion on electric vehicle factories

General Motors said Tuesday it would spend $7 billion to build a battery plant in Michigan and retrofit an existing plant outside Detroi...


General Motors said Tuesday it would spend $7 billion to build a battery plant in Michigan and retrofit an existing plant outside Detroit to start producing electric pickup trucks by 2024.

The investment will create 4,000 jobs and significantly expand GM’s ability to build electric vehicles in the United States, the company said.

“We want to have a good manufacturing base in the Midwest,” GM Chairman Mark Reuss said in a conference call with reporters. “Three years ago we looked at the full potential of electric vehicles and started planning our footprint.”

The State of Michigan is providing GM with $824 million in economic incentives.

The investment plan is the latest from the auto industry to ramp up production of electric vehicles. In December, Toyota announced its intention to build a battery factory in North Carolina which is expected to employ 1,750 people.

Ford Motor has already overhauled a plant in Dearborn, Michigan, and is preparing to start making an electric version of its F-150 pickup this spring. Ford too plans to spend $11.4 billion to build two battery plants in Kentucky and a third battery plant and electric truck plant in Tennessee.

GM has battery factories under construction in Ohio and Tennessee, and retooled a factory in Detroit, where it recently started manufacturing a Hummer electric truck. It also plans to manufacture electric vehicles at a plant in Ontario and another in Mexico.

In total, GM expects to have the capacity to manufacture 600,000 electric vehicles per year by 2025, Reuss said.

GM has said it aims to phase out gasoline vehicle production by 2035, but so far Ford is ahead of GM in electric vehicle sales. Ford is selling an electric SUV, the Mustang Mach-Efor more than a year, and has recorded more than 200,000 reservations for the electric F-150 Lightning.

Ford developed these models using supplier-developed batteries. GM has decided to take more time to develop its own modular batteries which it says will provide a cost advantage over competitors in the long run.

GM’s new battery plant in Michigan, like other GM battery plants, will be a joint venture between the automaker and LG Electric. It will be built on the site of an existing factory in Lansing, at a cost of $2.6 billion to be shared between GM and LG.

GM will also invest $4 billion to enable a plant in Orion Township, Michigan to manufacture electric versions of its Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra pickup trucks. The company plans to add 2,350 jobs to the Orion factory and retain another 1,000 jobs at the factory when pickup production begins.

The plant makes the Chevrolet Bolt, an electric compact car, although production was halted for several months due to a recall requiring GM and LG to replace batteries in all Bolts manufactured since 2017.

Mr. Reuss declined to say whether GM would continue to produce the Bolt as it prepared the Orion plant to manufacture pickup trucks.

GM also said it would spend $510 million to upgrade two vehicle plants in Lansing.

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Newsrust - US Top News: General Motors to spend $7 billion on electric vehicle factories
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