GM’s electric vehicle efforts would include larger presence in Michigan

General Motors intends to spend multibillion dollars to set up production of batteries and electric pickup trucks at two Michigan sites, giving an economic boost to the company’s home state, said Friday a person knowing the plans.

The automaker has started sketching out proposals to convert an electric car plant in Orion Township to produce electric vans and to build a new battery plant with a partner, LG Electronics, near the existing Lansing plant. Delta Township, this person said.

The company, which has set ambitious goals to switch to electric vehicles, was more cautious about its plans in a statement released Friday. “GM is developing business cases for potential future investments in Michigan,” he said. “As part of developing a competitive business case, we discuss with the appropriate local officials what incentives are available. “

The potential development of the Michigan sites by GM was reported earlier by the Wall Street Journal.

The total investment is expected to amount to more than $ 4 billion. GM had already spent $ 2 billion to convert a Detroit plant into production of electric vehicles. Incentive requests filed with the city of Lansing on Friday showed that GM and LG plan to invest $ 2.5 billion in the battery plant and create 1,700 jobs there.

The production of a high-volume pickup could significantly increase employment at the Orion Township plant, which was used to make the Chevrolet Bolt, an electric compact car. Bolt output has been restricted and is currently on hold due to a recall of the batteries used in the car. When in operation, the plant has 1,100 workers on a single shift, and electric vehicle production would likely increase production to two or even three shifts.

The investment would be a win for Michigan as automakers rush to start manufacturing batteries and electric vehicles in bulk. Several factories are planned for the southern states. Toyota announced this week that it will build a battery plant in North Carolina that is expected to employ 1,750 people.

Ford Motor is spending $ 11.4 billion to build two battery plants in Kentucky and a third battery plant and a new electric truck plant in Tennessee. GM has battery plants under construction in Ohio and Tennessee, and plans to add more in Ontario and Mexico.

The surge in investment and job commitments has raised concerns among some Michigan economic development officials that the state is not gaining a significant portion of the jobs created by the auto industry’s conversion to electric vehicles.

GM, Ford, Toyota and other traditional automakers are trying to catch up with Tesla, which largely dominates global sales of electric vehicles and has captured the imaginations of investors. Tesla has a market value of around $ 1 trillion, more than GM, Ford, Toyota and several other automakers combined.

GM plans to introduce 20 electric vehicles in the United States by 2025. The former include the GMC Hummer electric pickup and sport utility models, and the Cadillac Lyriq, a luxury SUV. These will be built at a Detroit plant that GM now calls “Factory Zero.” A variety of other electric vehicles are expected to follow, including an electric version of the Chevrolet Silverado pickup which is expected to go into production in early 2023.

These models will use modular batteries – produced in a joint venture with LG – that GM relies on to help lower the cost of electric vehicles.

Ford is slightly ahead of GM in electric vehicles. It started selling the Mustang Mach-E electric SUV almost a year ago and plans to start manufacturing an electric pickup, the F-150 Lightning, in early 2022.

Ford chief executive Jim Farley told CNBC on Thursday that his company had 200,000 customer reservations for the truck and was working to increase production capacity to meet demand.

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