General Motors to announce $6.5bn spending and 4,000 new jobs at Michigan EV factories

State lawmakers and Governor Gretchen Whitmer recently enacted a new $1bn fund designed to land major business projects

A Chevrolet Bolt EV on the assembly line at General Motors' Orion Township plant, which now employs just over 1,100 workers. Reuters
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US carmaker General Motors is poised to announce major electric vehicle investments in Michigan next week, with plans to spend $6.5 billion and create up to 4,000 new jobs at two plants.

The state's economic development board is expected to approve an incentives package on Tuesday, according to a meeting agenda posted online.

The Associated Press previously reported the Detroit automaker's plan to partner in a joint venture to build a $2.5bn EV battery factory in the Lansing area, adding as many as 1,700 workers. GM also plans to spend $4 billion and create up to 2,300 new jobs by designating an existing plant in Orion Township as its third electric-vehicle factory, along with plants in Detroit-Hamtramck and Spring Hill, Tennessee.

The selections are a big win for Michigan, which missed out on three Ford Motor battery factories and a Ford electric-vehicle assembly plant that will be built in Kentucky and Tennessee.

Michigan state lawmakers and Governor Gretchen Whitmer recently enacted a new $1bn fund designed to land major business projects.

“The Ford announcement felt like a punch in the nose," Quentin Messer Jr, chief executive of Michigan Economic Development and president and chair of the Michigan Strategic Fund, said last month. “Michiganders have always responded to every punch with a more forceful counterpunch.”

The Orion Township plant, about 64 kilometres north of Detroit, now makes the Chevrolet Bolt electric hatchback and small SUV, employing just over 1,100 workers. The company said it would soon announce that an existing factory would build electric pickup trucks. Bolt production has been suspended due to a battery recall.

The battery plant will be constructed on the site of GM’s Lansing Delta Township Assembly factory, which makes the Buick Enclave and Chevrolet Traverse SUVs.

“GM appreciates the support it has received from the Governor, the State Legislature, Orion Township, the City of Lansing and Delta Township related to two prospective projects that GM is considering in Orion Township and Lansing," company spokesperson Dan Flores said in a written statement. "Until these projects receive final approval, we have no comment on potential announcement timing,”

GM says it is also spending $154 million to revamp an ageing factory near Buffalo, New York, so it can make a key part for electric vehicle motors.

EVs amounted to less than 3 per cent of US new auto sales last year, but forecasters expect big increases in the next decade. Consumers bought about 400,000 fully electric vehicles.

The LMC Automotive consulting firm estimates EV sales will jump to 763,000 this year and more than 1.2 million by 2023. The firm expects EVs to make up nearly 44 per cent of new vehicle sales by 2033, with nearly 7.4 million sold.

Updated: January 22, 2022, 9:00 AM