- GM hosted a formal dedication of its Factory ZERO electric vehicle plant, based in the renovated Detroit-Hamtramck assembly plant, attended by President Joe Biden.
- The automaker has already begun pre-production of the Hummer SUT, the first of which is expected to be delivered before the end of the year.
- Production of the GMC Hummer EV will be followed by the Silverado EV, expected as early as late 2022.
General Motors celebrated the opening of the renovated Factory ZERO electric vehicle plant in Michigan on Wednesday this week, with President Joe Biden in attendance. The grand opening followed a $2.2 billion investment in the revamped plant that will produce the 2022 GMC Hummer SUT and SUV, as well as the Chevrolet Silverado EV and Cruise Origin autonomous shuttle — all vehicles that will use the new Ultium platform .
GM chose to renovate the existing assembly plant in Detroit-Hamtramck rather than build Factory ZERO from scratch, saving about a third of the capital that would have been needed for a greenfield facility, while cutting construction time in half, and spending less than a year on the project. In the process, the automaker managed to recycle or reuse nearly every piece of material that came out of the old facility, even using the crushed concrete removed from the floor of the site as road surfacing. GM also built a system that will use treated stormwater in the cooling towers and in the plant’s fire suppression system. The automaker also installed a 516 kW ground-mounted solar panel and a 30 kilowatt solar carport at the site.
“GM’s American manufacturing expertise is key to achieving our all-electric future,” said GM Chairman and CEO Mary Barra. “This is a monumental day for the entire GM team. We reengineered Factory ZERO with the best, most advanced technology in the world to build the highest quality electric vehicles for our customers.”
Even before the factory hosted a formal opening ceremony, the GMC Hummer EV had already begun pre-production at the site weeks earlier and had been seen around Detroit. The automaker says production examples will be delivered to the first customers by the end of this year.
Speaking of the Hummer EV, President Joe Biden attended the plant’s opening ceremony and later took the Hummer truck for a spin. The event marked the second time in recent months that the president has driven an electric pickup from one of the Michigan automakers, after taking a spin in the Ford F-150 Lightning in May of this year.
The president raised some eyebrows — at least those of Tesla fans — by excluding the Austin-based automaker in his comments about EV progress by domestic automakers.
“In the automotive industry, Detroit is the world leader in electric vehicles. You know how critical that is,” the president said during the plant’s opening ceremony.
As a number of industry observers were quick to point out, Tesla has been responsible for the majority of electric vehicle production and sales by a domestic automaker over the past decade. Of course, it would have been strange for the president to have said that Fremont, California (or Austin, Texas) is the world leader in electric vehicles during the opening of a GM plant in the Detroit area, but this quote will perhaps be another entry into the administration’s perceived or actual rejection of Tesla, which at this point is widely attributed to the White House’s pro-union stance.
Over the summer, Tesla was notably absent from an EV event at the White House that culminated in the signing of an executive order setting out domestic automakers’ commitment to achieving 50% sales of electric vehicles, PHEVs and FCVs powered by hydrogen by 2030.
When it comes to Detroit automakers, GM is certainly on the verge of beating Tesla to market with at least one if not two electric pickup trucks. The first deliveries of the Hummer EV will begin within weeks, with the Silverado EV scheduled to follow with an official debut at CES in Las Vegas next month. The Silverado EV is expected to enter production as early as this time in 2022, which is around the time Tesla is expected to begin building its Cybertruck.
“To meet our ambitious transition to electric vehicles, GM’s North American EV assembly capacity will reach 20 percent by 2025 and then 50 percent by 2030,” said Gerald Johnson, GM’s vice president of global manufacturing and sustainability. “Factory ZERO serves as a model for transitions that will occur at other factories around the world in the coming years.”
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