General Motors is making its Spring Hill plant in the US state of Tennessee its third production facility for electric cars. The company plans to invest 2 billion US dollars in converting the plant. Among other models, the first electric Cadillac model Lyriq will be built in Spring Hill.
Spring Hill will not be a purely electric car plant – at least not for the time being: GM intends to continue to build combustion engines at the plant, especially the Cadillac XT6 and XT5. GM will add the electric Lyriq to the range, the study of which GM presented just a few weeks ago. The SUV gives a glimpse of the future electric design language of the GM brand and set to launch at the end of 2022 for less than 60,000 US dollars. Cadillac is already planning four more electric SUVs and an electric sedan.
General Motors says that the conversion work in Spring Hill started immediately. Among other things, they will expand the paint and body shops, and the assembly facility will also receive “comprehensive upgrades”, including new machines, conveyor belts, controls and tools.
While in GM’s Tennessee plant, electric cars and internal combustion engines will initially be built in parallel, General Motors is turning two of its plants in Michigan into pure electric car sites: the factory in Detroit-Hamtramck and the plant in Orion Township. In Detroit-Hamtramck, the last internal combustion engine rolled off the assembly line in February 2020, and since March the factory has been converted for the production of electric cars. The GMC Hummer EV and later the self-propelled electric car Cruise Origin are to be built at the Hamtramck plant from 2021. The US-American carmaker presented the series version of the GMC Hummer EV just today.
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While the changeover in Detroit was planned for a long time, the plans for Orion Township were only announced this summer. In principle, the plant will only become an electric car location when General Motors stops production of the Chevrolet Sonic internal combustion engine model there due to low demand. With the production of the revised Chevrolet Bolt and the new offshoot Bolt EUV, the plant will automatically become the second purely electric car plant after Detroit-Hamtramck. GM is keeping its options open for Orion Township in the future and will continue to build combustion engines there if necessary.
In the latest update on its electric model offensive, GM continues to talk about 20 electric models that they are planning for its brands by 2023. This means that the production infrastructure for this has to be installed as quickly as possible. According to GM, converting the three electric car sites mentioned above requires investments of 4.5 billion US dollars, including the two billion dollars planned for Spring Hill. For the conversion work in Detroit-Hamtramck, the car company is investing 2.2 billion US dollars and for Orion Township 300 million US dollars. Besides, another $800 million will be spent on tooling at suppliers and other projects related to the introduction of the new electric-pickups in and around Detroit.
General Motors and LG Chem are together investing another 2.3 billion dollars in the construction of a battery cell factory in Lordstown, Ohio. In 2019 the two companies established their joint venture Ultium Cells LLC that should play a key role in the electrification of General Motors’ vehicles. Construction work on the factory began in May. General Motors revealed its Ultium modular battery system in March this year and in mid-September, it also unveiled Ultium Drive – a family of five drive units and three motors that will power the Group’s next-generation electric vehicles.
With reporting by Cora Werwitzke.
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