• Dec 7th 2009 at 10:30AM
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2011 Chevrolet Volt – Click above for high-res image gallery

Production of the 2011 Chevrolet Volt marks an important transition for General Motors. It's the first plug-in electric drive vehicle that the automaker is building for sale to anyone that wants one. No more of the limited lease-only deals that were done with the EV1 a decade ago. To demonstrate its commitment to transforming transportation, GM decided to build the Volt on its home ground right in Detroit.

Today, GM is announcing it's spending $336 million to re-tool the Detroit-Hamtramck assembly plant to build the Volt. The factory, which had been building the Cadillac DTS and Buick Lucerne, is being refurbished for the Volt. GM will start building pre-pilot Volts on its assembly iine around March of 2010 to verify the production processes. The Hamtramck plant will also build the Opel/Vauxhall Ampera beginning later in 2011 for European consumption.

The Hamtramck investment is part of $700 million being invested in Michigan facilities to produce the Volt and its components. That includes a new engine line at the Flint South engine plant and the battery pack assembly plant in Brownstown Township south of Detroit.

  • 11/29/09 7:17:39 -- Los Angeles, CA, U.S.A Vehicle Chief Engineer Andrew Farah and the new Chevy Volt during the Dodger Stadium ride and drive.

Photos Copyright ©2009 Sam Abuelsamid / Weblogs, Inc.

[Source: General Motors]



•Combined Volt-related investments by GM in eight Michigan locations total $700 million
•Expected to be first plant in the U.S. owned by a major automaker to produce an electric car
•Start of regular production scheduled for late 2010

DETROIT, Mich. – General Motors will invest $336 million in the Detroit-Hamtramck assembly plant to begin production of the Chevrolet Volt electric car, with extended range capabilities, in 2010.

This brings GM's combined Volt-related investments in Michigan to $700 million, spread out over eight facilities. Detroit-Hamtramck will be the final assembly location for the Volt, using tooling from Grand Blanc and receiving lithium-ion batteries from GM's Brownstown Twp. battery pack manufacturing facility, cam shafts and connecting rods from Bay City and stampings and the Volt's 1.4L engine-generator from Flint.

"The Detroit-Hamtramck plant is expected to be the first facility in the U.S. owned by a major automaker to produce an electric car. It is the hub for the wheel that got rolling in 2007 when the Volt debuted at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit," Jon Lauckner, GM vice president of global product planning, said. "Since then, the field of challengers and partners has grown significantly. This competition will collaboration expedite the development of electric vehicle technology and infrastructure."

After the Volt's debut in January 2007, six plug-in hybrid or electric vehicles were announced by other automakers later that year, followed by 19 introductions in 2008 and five more this year.

In addition to GM's $700 million in Volt-related facility investments, there are the many suppliers, utility companies and organizations who are investing in Michigan and the U.S. to support Volt production and electric vehicle development. In August, the U.S. Dept. of Energy selected 45 companies, universities and organizations in 28 states for more than $2 billion in awards for electric drive and battery manufacturing and transportation electrification.

"With GM at the lead, electric vehicle development is creating entire new industries. This includes battery developers, builders of home and commercial charging stations, and power control and electric motor suppliers," Lauckner said. "Needless to say, these investments in the electric-vehicle ecosystem are creating new jobs, and strengthening Michigan's and America's long-term competitiveness."

To reduce cost and maximize flexible manufacturing techniques, some equipment for Volt production is being reused from other GM facilities and installed in the Detroit-Hamtramck plant's body shop. The Volt will be built on the existing assembly line at Detroit-Hamtramck. Assembly of Volt prototype vehicles will begin in the spring, with the start of regular production scheduled for late 2010.

Detroit-Hamtramck opened in 1985, and currently employs approximately 1,200 workers, including 1,100 hourly workers represented by UAW Local 22.

"This investment is great news for the workforce as they help pave the way for the future and the electrification of the automobile," said Cal Rapson, vice president and director UAW International Union.
The Volt is an electric vehicle with extended-range capability. It is designed to drive up to 40 miles on electricity without using gasoline or producing tailpipe emissions. When the Volt's lithium-ion battery is depleted of energy, an engine/generator seamlessly operates to extend the total driving range to about 300 miles before refueling or stopping to recharge the battery. Pricing has not been announced.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 5 Years Ago
      That's not all that much to re-tool a plant.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Considering how much $$ the government has given GM, they couldn't even think of not building it in the USA.
        • 5 Years Ago
        But they could have moved production to a less union tolerating state. They are just re doing what they did all these years.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Actually Ford is using the money from the line of credit (after all, if you had your facts straight, you would know it's a line of credit) for development of it's many alt. fuel projects and for the future retooling of the Rouge plant to build global small cars and electric vehicles... but Ford builds 3 models in Mexico so let's bitch about that some more...
        • 5 Years Ago
        Ford didn't take any bailout money
        • 5 Years Ago
        "Considering how much $$ the government has given GM, they couldn't even think of not building it in the USA."

        Ford did...
      • 5 Years Ago
      Detroit? Forced Union labor. Low education levels. High property taxes. High Corporate taxes.

      Talk about setting up for failure.
        • 5 Years Ago
        @ bob H

        dont just drop the bush name and say thats the problem. i hate him to but if you cant see that this country is like the way it is because of YEARS of neglect then i just dont know what to tell ya. and as far as fundamentally destructive changes with the ECONOMY goes obama is by far the worst sense Woodrow Wilson when he passed the Federal Reserve act.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Gee Thipps....
        I am afraid you didn't see the Sarc lite was on... .
      • 5 Years Ago
      Actually, it says the volt project cost 700 million, so they'll have to sell them at 1M a piece.

      That's where the taxpayer's looted dollars come in!

      They give GM a cleaner balance sheet, and GM gets to keep money in its pockets.

      It's a smokescreen so GM and the UAW can continue to screw people over. As George Bush would say "Fuzzy Math".
      • 5 Years Ago
      At least someone realizes that we can't just outsource all our manufacturing to other countries.
        • 5 Years Ago
        How about if we just outsource them to states where the UAW doesn't strangle, err partner, the manufacturers into the ground?

        • 5 Years Ago
        the unions are not the biggest problem. Free trade is the biggest problem. we are shooting our own foot, quality of life has gone down. period!

        free trade kinda works if countries trade somewhat equally with each other, but when its like it is right now it does nothing but drag down our quality of life in America.

        quality of life is not the DOW
        • 5 Years Ago
        What does one have to do with the other?

        If GM went away, then kiss this country goodbye too.

        We can see how much some of you people care about the future of this country.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Yeah Hazdaz, don't outsource OR steal the taxpayers money. GM should be gone.
        • 5 Years Ago

        I think the problem is that it's only "fair" to the workers, while being ridiculously unfair to everybody else.

        Why should a UAW auto tech. get paid $20+/hour when other works get $14-16/hour for the same work? I don't know about other areas of the country, but here in Green Bay you can afford to buy a cheap house at $16/hour - that's a halfway decent wage!

        Want to get paid $20+/hour? Then go to school, instead of working for the same place for 30 years and wondering why you have a great big pay ceiling above your head. Nobody who hasn't taken the effort to go to college should get paid $50-70,000 a year, if you ask me. Put a little effort in, it's not hard!

        The UAW gets all the flack because they allow workers to get wages way higher than any other collective group of workers in the auto field - Toyota is doing it right, paying their Kentucky and other plants' workers in the mid teens and giving them generous health benefits. That keeps things competitive and allows them to give out more jobs.

        What good's a job at GM when the organization that represents you and gets you that job is slowly killing GM by charging them 30-50% more in wages than every other auto plant?

        What good is your $20+/hour going to get you when you're laid off because your automaker goes out of business?
        • 5 Years Ago
        Good thing Governor Jenny-from-the-block is paying for the tax breaks responsible for thing by attempting to tax the crap out the west side of the state.
        • 5 Years Ago
        @notYou: How about we work to improve conditions for workers instead of protecting corporate w-hores? How about we quit competing within our own country and start competing against other countries? How about we work to ensure that all workers have access to affordable healthcare, quality education for their children, clean air and well-funded public works?

        Why sacrifice public funds that could be used to build better schools and universities instead of corporate handouts to lure manufacturers to states with well-below-average education standards, too many food-stamp collectors, high uninsured rates, poverty for $14/hr jobs for select few.

        We need to focus on improving our country as a whole, and the attitude that unions are bad is not the way to do that.

        • 5 Years Ago

        Those are the same people that built-up this nation to being the greatest economic power in the world. If you want to blame anyone, it's the clueless executive-types that gave the Union too-sweet deals decades ago and then couldn't manage the company well enough to deliver. How is it that these multi-million dollar executives are supposed brilliant managers and are supposed "worth" the salaries they get, and yet at the same time, they have been out-smarted by the "dumb" factory workers whose jobs can supposedly be done by trained monkeys?

        If you actually look at the numbers - and not just spout baseless propoganda - you'll see that the true cost of Union labor (especially after recent concessions) is barely higher than non-Union workers, especially when you consider that only a small fraction of the cost of an automobile is actual labor costs. Is a couple of hundred bucks going to really get someone to buy a horribly designed, terribly styled and poorly engineered car like some of the current Chrysler models? No - and yet the styling and engineering of those vehicles was green-lit by over-paid executives those paychecks no one complains about.


        You sooo hit the nail on the head. Free-trade is GREAT, when it's with countries that you can actually compete with. Canada, Japan, Germany, England - all their costs are probably+/-5 to 10% of the cost of building something here in the US. You get raped though, when you try comparing US costs to places like China or India.

        Certain groups in the US rather see our standard of living go DOWN to China's level, just so corporations can build their stuff cheaper elsewhere.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Did anyone catch the Adam Carrolla Carcast this past weekend? He interviewed one of the lead engineers for the project and was even able to drive the Volt. He did part of the podcasted from inside the car during the drive. Pretty sweet but you could tell Adam was a little bored during the silent drive. He asked some good questions and it was funny to hear a Volt segment bookended by 2 live read Ford Sync promotions.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I'ma putting a big fooking sub and multiple drivers and an ipod looped lamborghine v12 soundtrack inna my new Volt. Push those blind fookers back onna curb!
      • 5 Years Ago
      Good news for Michigan which almost seems like a third world state now.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I read a disturbing article today. Bolivia has worlds largest lithium deposits that are needed for Lithium batteries. They are called Saudi Arabia of Lithium and they really plan to use it to redevelop their economy.


      There's already pressure on GM and others to make these batteries reusable and even more efficient.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I hope they are making Hamtramck flexible enough to allow production of the Cruze, Orlando, and Astra if the capacity is needed. GM needs more flexible factories to respond to consumer demand like Ford is doing and the transplants have been doing for some time.
        • 5 Years Ago
        This gets to the heart of my biggest issue with the unions. Union contracts have a one person, one job stipulation. This means if your job is to screw a bolt into this car, you can't snap on a panel on another car. The practice was designed so that management wouldn't use workers against each other to cannibilize jobs. However, it has lead to a lack of flexibility. Unlike foriegn companies who can have a crossover go down the same line that a car does, assembled by the same workers, the union company has to make the same basic vehicle as long as the line is running. This leads to over-production and/or downtime on the line. Much of the higher cost per worker that GM pays is due to more paid downtime and more overtime per worker, which is largely the result of a lack of flexible production. On the lots, it leads to inventory problems (both too many of one model and to little of another).

        My biggest issue with the unions isn't how much they get paid, but rather how they force management to operate inefficiently.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Union's built the USA? I think not.

      True capitalism built the USA. Not looting and profiteering. People confuse looting and profiteering for "capitalism". They associate worthless bankers and CEO's who don't produce with "capitalism" and that's incorrect. Capitalism is about production.

      GM FAILED to produce cars that sold. They went bankrupt and should have dissolved. Stupidly, they were bailed out. Why? So the looters can keep on looting.

      This "investment" in the Volt being 700 million dollars, hardly seems worth the price. This car isn't some revolution, it's just a slightly better mileage hybrid that costs almost twice as much as a Prius!

      This whole thing is nothing but a smokescreen so that the corporate looters/unions and politicians in their pocket, and vice versa, can keep on looting without producing anything substantial.

      Screw the UAW and screw the CEO's who knew nothing, bankrupted their companies by trying to milk their cash cow dry, without ever bothering to feed it. The bailouts are just giving hay to a neglectful farmer, that's going to be coming back with his hand out in a few years, once they do it again.

      To quote Robin Williams: "Too big to fail! That's like too fat to diet! What the f***?"
      • 5 Years Ago
      That's an ugly picture of the Volt..the lead pic. It looks like a nerd with big ears.
      • 5 Years Ago
      This is good news for Michigan. One of the hardest hit states by the economic downturn.
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