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.
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[Source: General Motors]
GM INVESTS $336 MILLION IN DETROIT-HAMTRAMCK PLANT TO BUILD CHEVROLET VOLT
•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.