GM’s EV Efforts Reportedly Include a Bigger Michigan Presence

on Dec12
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General Motors intends to spend several billion dollars to set up production of batteries and electric pickup trucks at two locations in Michigan, giving the company’s home state an economic boost, a person with knowledge of the plans said Friday.

The automaker has started sketching out proposals to convert an electric car plant in Orion Township to produce electric pickups and to build a new battery plant with a partner, LG Electronics, near the existing Lansing Delta Township plant, this person said.

The company, which has laid out ambitious goals for a shift to electric vehicles, was more circumspect about its plans in a statement issued Friday. “G.M. is developing business cases for potential future investments in Michigan,” it said. “As part of developing a competitive business case, we are having discussions with the appropriate local officials on available incentives.”

G.M.’s prospective development of the Michigan sites was reported earlier by The Wall Street Journal.

The total investment is likely to be more than $4 billion. G.M. previously spent $2 billion to convert a Detroit plant to electric vehicle production. Incentive applications filed to the City of Lansing on Friday showed that G.M. and LG envision investing $2.5 billion in the battery plant and creating 1,700 jobs there.

Production of a high-volume pickup truck could significantly increase employment at the Orion Township plant, which has been used to make the Chevrolet Bolt, an electric compact car. Bolt output has been limited and is currently suspended because of a recall of the battery packs used in the car. When in operation, the factory has 1,100 workers on a single shift, and E.V. production would probably increase production to two or even three shifts.

The investment would be a victory for Michigan as automakers race to begin making battery packs and electric vehicles in high volumes. Several factories are planned for Southern states. Toyota said this week that it would build a battery plant in North Carolina that is supposed to employ 1,750 people.

Ford Motor is spending $11.4 billion to build two battery plants in Kentucky and a third battery plant and a new electric truck plant in Tennessee. G.M. has battery plants under construction in Ohio and Tennessee, and it plans to add others in Ontario and Mexico.

The spate of investments and job commitments has caused concern among some economic development officials in Michigan that the state was not winning a significant portion of the jobs being created by the auto industry’s conversion to electric vehicles.

G.M., Ford, Toyota and other traditional automakers are trying to catch up to Tesla, which leads in global sales of electric vehicles by a wide margin and has captured the imagination of investors. Tesla has a market value of about $1 trillion — more than G.M., Ford, Toyota and several other automakers combined.

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