GM investing $7B to build EV capacity
Single largest investment in American automaker's history Metal Tech News – January 26, 2022
Last updated 2/8/2022 at 2:46pm
In its race toward becoming North America's electric vehicle market leader by 2025, General Motors Co. has unveiled plans to invest roughly $7 billion in new lithium-ion battery and EV manufacturing facilities in Michigan, the single largest investment ever by the American automaker.
"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," General Motors Chair and CEO Mary Barra said during the Jan. 25 announcement.
The investment includes construction of a new Ultium lithium battery cell plant in Lansing and the conversion of GM's assembly plant in Orion Township to produce the Chevrolet Silverado EV and the electric GMC Sierra. This will be GM's second assembly plant scheduled to build full-size electric pickups. The first was Factory ZERO, where the company invested $2.2 billion to convert its Detroit-Hamtramck assembly plant to build a variety of all-electric trucks and SUVs.
"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," Barra said. "Our plan creates the broadest EV portfolio of any automaker and further solidifies our path toward U.S. EV leadership by mid-decade."
GM's historic investment into expanding its EV manufacturing capabilities in Michigan includes $4 billion earmarked to convert the Orion Assembly plant to produce electric trucks using the GM-developed Ultium platform, which gives the company the flexibility to build vehicles for every customer and segment.
This investment is expected to create more than 2,350 new jobs at Orion and retain roughly 1,000 current jobs when the plant is fully operational.
Electric truck production, including the Chevrolet Silverado EV and electric GMC Sierra, will begin at Orion in 2024. The Orion investment will drive significant facility and capacity expansion at the site, including new body and paint shops and new general assembly and battery pack assembly areas.
Production of the Chevrolet Bolt EV and electric utility vehicle will continue during the plant's conversion.
Another $2.6 billion is earmarked for the Lansing Ultium battery cell plant, which will be GM's third lithium battery manufacturing facility in the U.S. This investment is expected to create more than 1,700 new jobs when the plant is fully operational. Site preparations will begin this summer, and battery cell production is scheduled to begin in late 2024.
With the massive new investments in the Orion EV and Lansing Ultium battery facilities, coupled with the capacity at Factory ZERO, GM expects to be able to produce 600,000 full-size electric trucks per year.
The automaker's total EV capacity is expected to top 1 million autos per year by the end of 2025.
On top of the EV-related investments in Michigan, GM is investing another $510 million in two Lansing-area vehicle assembly plants to upgrade their production capabilities for near-term products.
In addition to building 1-million-EV-per-year manufacturing capacity in the United States, GM is building partnerships aimed at creating scalable, resilient, sustainable, and North American-focused supply chain to support EV lithium battery manufacturing.
This includes strategic supplier agreements with:
• MP Materials to scale rare earth magnet sourcing and production in the U.S.
• VAC to build a new magnet factory in the U.S. to support EV growth.
• POSCO to build a new North America plant to process Cathode Active Material.
• GE Renewable Energy to serve as a source of rare earth and other materials.
• Wolfspeed to develop and provide silicon carbide power device solutions.
• Controlled Thermal Resources to provide U.S.-based lithium through a closed-loop process that extracts lithium from geothermal brine and uses the geothermal as a zero-carbon energy source.
"We have been bold and clear about our goal to lead the EV transition – and leadership is not a moving target. We are thinking differently, acting differently and working differently as we turn our aspirations into action," Barra penned in a Jan. 25 post on LinkedIn.
More information on GM's partnership with MP Materials can be read at GM secures American rare earth magnets in the December 9, 2021 edition of Metal Tech News; further details on the partnership with Controlled Thermal Resources can be read at GM secures green US geothermal lithium in the July 2, 2021 edition of Metal Tech News; and additional reading on the partnership with GE Renewable Energy can be found at GM, GE join forces for rare earths supply in the October 13, 2021 edition of Metal Tech News.