General Motors to build electric drive systems in Toledo


General Motors is converting its transmission plant in Toledo in the US state of Ohio with the aim of initiating additional production of electric drives on-site. According to the U.S. carmaker, the conversion will cost 760 million US dollars.

The drive units produced in Toledo will be used in the company’s electric vehicles based on the Ultium platform, for which GM had presented the Ultium Drive modular drive system in 2020. The current announcement mentions the electric pickup models Chevrolet Silverado EV, GMC Sierra EV and Hummer EV. Equipment for front-wheel, rear-wheel and all-wheel drives will be built at the plant, GM adds.

The conversion work will begin these days. “Our Toledo team will continue to play a key role as we work to strengthen our current truck and SUV dominance, while also playing an important role in our EV growth transition,” said Gerald Johnson, GM executive vice president of global manufacturing and sustainability.

Acquired by GM in 1956, the Toledo Propulsion Systems plant currently produces GM’s six-, eight- and 10-speed rear-wheel-drive and nine-speed front-wheel-drive transmissions used in a variety of Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac products. The factory employs about 1,500 people. Since 2011, GM says it has invested more than $1.9 billion in Toledo. This already includes the planned investment.

The transformation is reaching more and more plants at GM: only recently, the US manufacturer announced that it would invest 491 million dollars in its Marion Metal Center in the US state of Indiana to supply the production of electric vehicles in GM assembly plants across the country. Stampings produced in Indiana are increasingly being used in the company’s electric models.

In addition, GM, like other major manufacturers worldwide, is currently bringing large parts of the e-car and battery value chain in-house. The Americans recently announced a stake in the Canadian company Lithion Recycling. The battery recycling company plans to open its first commercial plant with an annual capacity of 7,500 tonnes in 2023 and is planning further plants in the USA, Europe and South Korea.

Ultium Cells, the battery cell joint venture between General Motors and LG Energy Solution, recently began producing battery cells at its first of four plants planned so far. There, Lithion’s precursors made from recycled materials could potentially be used.

The battery cells produced at Ultium Cells in Ohio will be used in General Motors’ electric vehicles based on the Ultium platform, as will the drive units mentioned above. The opening of this first battery cell plant will be followed by others. Ultium Cells plans to have plants in Spring Hill, Tennessee and Lansing, Michigan. Ultium Cells’ fourth factory could be in New Carlisle, Indiana.


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