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GM Solidifies EV Future With $7B Investment in Michigan

General Motors plans to invest heavily in EVs, creating some 4,000 new jobs and building new production facilities for the development and manufacturing of electric autos and their batteries.

General Motors
General Motors (GM) confirmed its place to be a leader in the development and manufacture of electric vehicles, pledging to invest more than $7 billion toward manufacturing and other facilities in Michigan.

The move was praised by state officials as a sign of Michigan’s leadership in mobility, as well as the auto industry’s confidence in the state’s role as a powerhouse for EVs.

“We’re very proud to remain at the epicenter of innovation and the ingenuity that is leading to electrify mobility solutions at every point in the value chain, and every part of the industry,” Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist II, told Government Technology, following the Tuesday announcement.

The General Motors investment will spur the development of four manufacturing sites for both cars and batteries, creating 4,000 new jobs and retaining some 1,000 others, according to a company press release. A new battery cell plant is planned for Lansing. The GM assembly plant in Orion Township will also be reimagined for the assembly site for the electric Silverado pickup and GM Sierra.

"Today we are taking the next step in our continuous work to establish GM’s EV leadership by making investments in our vertically integrated battery production in the U.S., and our North American EV production capacity,” said Mary Barra, GM chair and CEO, in a statement.

The move by the Michigan-based car company is, in part, a reflection of the state’s long history in mobility, said Gilchrist, as well as its vision for the future. The state has been involved in a number of EV and connected vehicle projects, like a 40-mile connected vehicle corridor between Detroit and Ann Arbor, as well as the development of one mile of roadway to serve as an innovation lab for wireless vehicle charging. The state has been actively expanding the EV charging network, and has formed agreements with neighboring states to shore up this network.

“We’re working to lay the groundwork so that every individual, every company, every researcher that wants to change the world in terms of electrified mobility will choose the state of Michigan as the place to do it,” said Gilchrist.

Ford is already planning for its own EV future with the development of its $5.6 billion Blue Oval City auto and battery manufacturing campuses in Tennessee.

Growing jobs in next-gen mobility technologies has been a mission for Michigan, said Trevor Pawl, chief mobility officer for the state. Pawl has noted that one in five jobs in the state are somehow related to the car industry.

“My job is very much about creating policies and new initiatives that help transition our workforce, ready our infrastructure for electric vehicles, and ensure that we’re looking across the different ways that a state needs to be involved in the mobility industry,” said Pawl on a panel to discuss the evolution of the car from gas-powered to electric at the CoMotion LA conference in November 2021.

A concern among officials is the changing nature of auto industry jobs, given that electric technology uses fewer parts, and the thinking goes, fewer workers. However, announcements like GM’s commitment to keep Michigan at the center of its EV evolution stands to keep the state moving forward as a center for mobility innovation and job creation.

“These are not just transportation projects,” said Pawl, calling attention to many pilot projects like the one-mile wireless charging highway. “These are energy projects. These are workforce projects. These are tourism projects. So the idea of this office was to sort of spin everything together and make some statement wins that can drive national conversations.”
Skip Descant writes about smart cities, the Internet of Things, transportation and other areas. He spent more than 12 years reporting for daily newspapers in Mississippi, Arkansas, Louisiana and California. He lives in downtown Yreka, Calif.