American auto giant General Motors is injecting $US300 million ($A424 million) into upgrading its Michigan plant so it can add a new electric vehicle to its auto offerings.
The new EV will join the battery electric Bolt, which is also built at the Orion, Michigan auto factory, and will be built on an advanced version of the Bolt EV’s architecture.
The new electric car announced by GM will be the second to receive the advanced Bolt electric powertrain – the first GM brand to benefit from the new technology will be Cadillac.
The announcement of a new electric vehicle follows hot on the heels of the final hybrid Volt, the last of which rolled off the production lines two weeks ahead of schedule last month at its Detroit auto plant.
The investment will also see GM create 400 additional new jobs at the facility, as the company makes moves to turn its focus to developing electric powertrains under a restructure branded with the motto “Zero Crashes, Zero Emissions, Zero Congestion”.
“This new Chevrolet electric vehicle is another positive step toward our commitment to an all-electric future. GM will continue to invest in our U.S. operations where we see opportunities for growth,” said GM chair and CEO Mary Barra during an announcement at the plant with employees, elected officials and community leaders.
The Orion assembly plant, in addition to producing the Chevrolet Bolt and Sonic, is also where GM is developing its Cruise autonomous driving tech, which it has been spied testing on the Bolt EV.
GM’s restructuring and focus on electric mobility was first announced in November 2018, when the company said that it would slash costs by closing down five ICE factories and laying off 15% of its staff in order to streamline production and free up funds for the development of electric cars.
This move came about following the auto giant resigning itself to defeat after an embattled campaign to have the Trump administration loosen strict fuel emissions regulations.
Bridie Schmidt is lead reporter for The Driven, sister site of Renew Economy. She specialises in writing about new technology and has been writing about electric vehicles for two years. She has a keen interest in the role that zero emissions transport has to play in sustainability and is co-organiser of the Northern Rivers Electric Vehicle Forum.