GM wants to build a new electric vehicle battery factory in Lansing


FILE – This Jan. 27, 2020 file photo shows a General Motors logo at the General Motors Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly plant in Hamtramck, Mich. General Motors now says it will support efforts by the United Auto Workers union to organize employees at two U.S. electric vehicle battery factories that it’s building in Ohio and Tennessee with a joint-venture partner.
The company’s statement Tuesday, May 25, 2021 about the plants departs from its past stance that the joint venture, called Ultium LLC, would decide on a bargaining strategy. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya, File)

LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) — General Motors wants to build a third U.S. electric vehicle plant in Michigan’s Capital city.

According to a tweet from the Associated Press, the automotive manufacturer and a joint venture partner want to build the factory near GM’s Lansing Delta Township factory.

The factory would begin operating in 2025, starting with 750 workers.

Plans on the City of Lansing’s website say that the plant will cost as much as $2.5 billion and will eventually employ up to 1,700 employees.

A joint venture between GM and LG Energy Solution called Ultium Cells LLC will build the factory. The plans were revealed in documents detailing a “Renaissance Zone” program.

The documents say the joint venture is obligating itself to investment and job creation. It says the building would be about 2.5 million square feet (230,000 square meters) with two-thirds being a “clean room” environment for battery cell manufacturing.

“The machinery and equipment consists of electrode mixing, coating, assembly and formation areas,” the documents say.

GM would not comment specifically on the plant’s location, but said it was developing business cases “for potential future investments in Michigan.” The company said it is discussing incentives with local officials.

“These projects are not approved and securing all available incentives will be critical for any business case to continue moving forward,” spokesman Dan Flores said. “I’m not going to speculate on the timing of when GM leadership will make a decision on potential future investments in Michigan.”

Lansing City Council member Peter Spadafore took to Facebook to express his excitement over the potential news.

Third Ward Councilman Adam Hussain called the news “huge” on Facebook.

The step came as Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and the state Legislature worked to quickly enact economic development incentive bills focused on “critical” industries and preparing shovel-ready sites for business expansions. It was not clear what new incentives Michigan could offer GM, though it has billions of dollars in federal discretionary pandemic rescue aid and surplus state tax revenues.

The selection is a big win for Michigan, which missed out on three Ford Motor Co. battery factories and an electric vehicle assembly plant that were placed in Kentucky and Tennessee.

Ford’s decision in September to build electric vehicle and battery plants in southern states was a blow to the nation’s auto hub, particularly because Ford said Michigan did not have the types of sites it needed.

“It’s my understanding there’s a competition for a battery plant and Lansing will do everything we can to make sure we are competitive to bring those jobs and billions of dollars of investment to our community,” he said.

GM also has applied for tax breaks in Orion Township, Michigan, where a factory that builds the Chevrolet Bolt electric car and SUV is located. The company wants to build an addition to the plant to assemble battery cells into packs that would go into electric vehicles.

This likely means that GM plans to designate the Orion plant as its third electric vehicle assembly plant, along with factories in Detroit-Hamtramck, Michigan, and Spring Hill, Tennessee. Flores would not comment beyond the company statement.

GM has said the joint venture will build four North American factories to make EV battery cells.

The company has said it would spend about $2 billion upgrading factories to build EVs, so that would bring the total new investment in Michigan to about $4.5 billion.

Two other locations have been announced, in Spring Hill, Tennessee, and Lordstown, Ohio. The fourth location has not been disclosed.

GM has set a goal of selling only electric passenger vehicles by 2035. The company plans to roll out 30 electric vehicles globally by 2025. It also has pledged to invest $35 billion in electric and autonomous vehicles from 2020 through 2025.

A meeting is set for Monday, Dec, 20 at 4:30 p.m. to discuss further plans for the factory.

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