General Motors this week announced a massive investment of historic proportions in its home state of Michigan. The automaker is committing $7 billion – enough to make it GM’s single largest investment announcement ever – and a large part of that investment will go toward building a brand new Ultium Cells EV battery factory just outside Michigan’s capitol city of Lansing. Right where the state’s politicians can see it.
Granted, that particular part of the investment is one that we saw coming, ever since reports emerged in December of last year that the Lansing City Council had approved exempting GM’s chosen factory site from city taxes for 18 years. Still, it’s a big deal. This will be GM’s third US Ultium EV battery plant constructed with its partner, LG Chem, and it will soak up $2.6 billion of that $7 billion total investment from GM.
The new Ultium Cells EV battery plant in Lansing will be massive, taking up 2.8 million square feet – nearly as much space as your average US car factory. The new GM battery plant is expected to start production in late-2024, supplying batteries for the likes of the Chevrolet Silverado EV and electric GMC Sierra. By the time it’s fully operational, the factory is expected to employ as many as 1,700. Work is said to have begun immediately.
What’s Driving The GM Battery Plant Investment
GM’s new Lansing EV battery plant is actually only the second-biggest portion of GM’s historic $7 billion investment in Michigan. The biggest: GM is pouring $4 billion into its Orion Assembly plant to prepare it for production of the new Chevrolet Silverado EV and the mechanically related electric GMC Sierra. That’s the same plant where the Chevrolet Bolt EV and Bolt EUV are produced. The pair of EVs are expected to be phased out in favor of these promising electric pickup trucks.
This is just the latest evidence that GM has gone gaga for battery-electric vehicles, as the company gears up to compete with Ford, Volkswagen, and the rest of the legacy automakers for dominance in the category of “EV manufacturers who aren’t Tesla.”
GM’s selection of Lansing as the site for its third Ultium Cells EV battery plant is actually quite strategic; when operational, the Lansing cells plant will supply directly to GM’s Orion Assembly, just a short hour and 20 minutes away. It could also supply to other GM EV manufacturing sites as well – a list that includes Factory ZERO in Hamtramck, also in Michigan.
Also part of the $7 billion announcement was the Lansing Delta Assembly plant, which will see tooling upgrades for the next-generation Buick Enclave and Chevrolet Traverse. The Lansing Grand River plant, which builds Cadillac’s remaining sedans and the Chevrolet Camaro, will also see upgrades for future product. While numbers weren’t announced, the difference left for the two facilities is roughly $400 million USD, which is a far cry from what Orion is getting, but is also far, far from chump change. It speaks to how massive this record GM investment actually is.
In all, GM’s $7 billion investment will directly create 4,000 jobs and retain another 1,000, while helping the automaker future-proof itself against further changes to the EPA’s vehicle emissions regulations and, perhaps, achieve its goal of becoming the North American EV market leader by 2025.