Great Wall Motors opens EV factory in Brazil
Chinese car manufacturer Great Wall Motor (GWM) will open a new factory in Brazil next year. The plant will manufacture electric cars only – in the form of battery electric cars, hybrids and hydrogen-fuelled vehicles. It will be GWM’s fourth-largest manufacturing site worldwide.
The site in Iracemápolis in the Brazilian state of São Paulo, which GWM purchased from Daimler in 2021, is scheduled to go into operation on 1 May 2024. It is said to have an annual capacity of 100,000 vehicles and to create about 2,400 new jobs. GWM plans to first serve the Brazilian market and export its EVs to other Latin American countries later. In Brazil, Great Wall Motors plans to launch four BEV models of its Ora brand and six hybrid models of the GWM brand in the next three years.
In order to reach the planned 100,000 vehicle production capacity per year, GWM will start modernising and expanding the plant in the first half of 2023. The manufacturer wants to invest 10 billion Brazilian reais (the equivalent of 1.83 billion euros) within ten years in the development of car production there, including the R&D and supplier network. The goal is to achieve a localisation rate of over 60 per cent by working with local suppliers, Great Wall recently announced.
The first vehicle to roll off the production line there is a “hybrid flex-fuel truck” called Poer – a plug-in hybrid that runs on ethanol. That is because ethanol is a widely used fuel in Brazil and so-called fuel-flex engines support refuelling with petrol as well as ethanol. Ethanol is considered a bridge technology, since it can also be used to produce hydrogen and help commercialise it.
“GWM’s Brazil plant will be the first NEV plant in Brazil to specialise in hybrid and electric vehicles,” says Brazil’s vice-president Geraldo Alckmin. “Brazil’s new industrialisation must involve decarbonisation and innovation and create more sustainable and efficient production methods.”