GM Opens EV Assembly Plant, Previews Ultium Platform
DETROIT – General Motors marked a milestone in its commitment to an all-electric future as President Joe Biden, International UAW and UAW Local 22 leadership, plant employees and other officials joined Thursday to celebrate the grand opening of the Factory ZERO EV assembly plant.
Production is now set to begin at the former Detroit-Hamtramck assembly plant, less than two years after GM announced the massive $2.2 billion investment to fully renovate the facility to build a variety of all-electric trucks and SUVs.
“GM’s U.S. manufacturing expertise is key to achieving our all-electric future,” said GM Chair and CEO Mary Barra. “This is a monumental day for the entire GM team. We retooled Factory ZERO with the best, most advanced technology in the world to build the highest quality electric vehicles for our customers.”
The name Factory ZERO reflects the significant role the facility plays in advancing GM’s vision of a world with zero crashes, zero emissions and zero congestion. Factory ZERO will be home to the 2022 GMC Hummer EV Pickup, 2024 GMC Hummer EV SUV, Chevrolet Silverado EV and the Cruise Origin, an all-electric, self-driving, shared vehicle. When fully operational, Factory ZERO will employ more than 2,200.
All Factory ZERO EVs will be built on GM’s Ultium Platform, described as the heart of the company’s EV product strategy. The Ultium Platform encompasses a common vehicle architecture and propulsion components like battery cells, modules, packs, drive units, EV motors and integrated power electronics, and is fundamental at plants where EVs are produced.
Through the Ultium Platform, GM said it will realize a strategic value chain shift across its network of vehicle assembly plants as the company is able to commonize and streamline machinery, tooling and assembly processes. This flexibility enables lower capital investments and greater efficiencies as additional assembly plant transformations occur.
GM said it retooled Factory ZERO for EV production for two-thirds the capital required to build a greenfield plant, making the facility a model for future GM facility renovations. As the company transitions to an all-electric future, GM will avoid up to $15 billion in capital costs by 2030 through the renovation of existing manufacturing facilities versus ground-up construction. The figure grows to $20 billion to $30 billion at 100% transition of GM’s manufacturing facilities to support EV production. That capital can be redeployed more strategically for additional customer-facing products, services and technologies, the company said.
“To meet our ambitious EV transition, GM’s North American EV vehicle assembly capacity will reach 20% by 2025, and then 50% by 2030,” said Gerald Johnson, GM’s executive vice president of global manufacturing and sustainability. “Factory ZERO serves as a model for transitions that will take place at other factories around the world in the coming years.”
Using virtual tools and working in parallel with production engineering teams, GM said it cut the manufacturing launch time in half – from two years to less than one – creating a competitive advantage. By comparison, greenfield assembly plant planning and construction could take up to four years, from site selection to vehicle production.
GM estimates that 80% of the assembly process for an EV is the same as that for conventional vehicles. This is another driver of speed for GM. The company said it has “refined and perfected its own standardized manufacturing processes over many decades, and will launch its expanding portfolio of EVs faster, with superior quality and a lower cost.”
SOURCE: General Motors Co.
Pictured: President Joe Biden gets behind the wheel of the 2022 GMC Hummer EV Pickup Wednesday at the grand opening of the GM Factory ZERO EV assembly plant in Detroit. (Photo by Jeffrey Sauger for General Motors)
Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.