- GM hosted the grand opening of its Factory ZERO electric vehicle plant, based in the renovated Detroit-Hamtramck assembly plant, which President Joe Biden attended.
- The automaker has already started pre-production of the Hummer SUT, the first copies of which are expected to be delivered before the end of the year.
- The production of the GMC Hummer EV will be followed by the Silverado EV, expected in late 2022.
General Motors celebrated the opening of the refurbished Factory ZERO electric vehicle plant in Michigan on Wednesday of this week, in the presence of President Joe Biden. The grand opening follows a $ 2.2 billion investment in the redeveloped plant that will produce the 2022 GMC Hummer SUT and SUV, as well as the Chevrolet Silverado EV and the Cruise Origin autonomous shuttle, all vehicles that will use the new Ultium platform.
GM chose to renovate the existing Detroit-Hamtramck assembly plant rather than building the ZERO plant from scratch, saving about a third of the capital that would have been required for a new facility, while halving the construction time, spending less than a year on the project. In the process, the automaker has managed to recycle or reuse almost all of the material from the old factory, even using the crushed concrete that was removed from the site’s ground as a surfacing material for construction roads. GM has also built a system that will use the treated stormwater in the cooling towers and the plant’s fire extinguisher system. The automaker also installed a 516 kW ground-mounted photovoltaic solar panel and a 30-kilowatt solar carport at the site.
“GM’s manufacturing expertise in the United States is essential to achieving our all-electric future,” said Mary Barra, President and CEO of GM. “It’s a monumental day for the entire GM team. We have retooled Factory ZERO with the world’s best and most advanced technology to build the highest quality electric vehicles for our customers. “
Even before the factory hosted an official opening ceremony, the GMC Hummer EV had already entered pre-production at the site weeks earlier and had been spotted around Detroit. The automaker says production samples will be delivered to first customers by the end of this year.
Speaking of the Hummer EV, President Joe Biden attended the factory opening ceremony and then took the Hummer truck for a ride. The event marked the second time in recent months that the president has driven an electric pickup truck from one of Michigan’s automakers, after taking a ride in the Ford F-150 Lightning in May this year.
The president raised a few eyebrows – at least the eyebrows of Tesla fans – by excluding the Austin-based automaker in his remarks regarding the advancement of electric vehicles by domestic automakers.
“In the automotive industry, Detroit is the world leader in electric vehicles. You know how critical it is,” the president said at the plant’s opening ceremony.
As a number of industry watchers quickly pointed 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 say that Fremont, Calif. (Or Austin, Texas) is the world leader in electric vehicles when opening a GM plant in the Detroit area, but that quote may be. – to be another entry in the administration’s perceived or actual rebuffs against Tesla, now largely attributed to the pro-union stance of the White House.
During the summer, Tesla was notably absent from an EV event at the White House that resulted in the signing of an executive order establishing the commitment of domestic automakers to achieve 50% of sales of EVs, PHEVs and from FCV to hydrogen by 2030.
When it comes to the Detroit automakers, GM is certainly on track to beat Tesla in the market with at least one, if not two, electric pickup trucks. The first deliveries of the Hummer EV will begin in a few weeks, with the Silverado EV set to follow with an official premiere at CES in Las Vegas the following month. The Silverado EV is expected to go into production this time around in 2022, around the time Tesla is expected to start building its Cybertruck.
“To meet our ambitious transition to electric vehicles, GM’s North American electric vehicle assembly capacity will reach 20% by 2025, then 50% by 2030,” said Gerald Johnson, vice-president. GM’s executive chairman of global manufacturing and sustainability. “Factory ZERO serves as a model for the transitions that will take place in other factories around the world in the years to come.”
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