DETROIT—General Motors has ramped up production at its Factory ZERO assembly plant here. Housed in the company’s former Detroit-Hamtramck factory that previously made internal combustion engine vehicles, the renovated assembly plant will now mass-produce a variety of electric vehicles.
“[Our] manufacturing expertise is key to achieving our all-electric future,” says Mary Barra, CEO of GM. “We retooled Factory ZERO with the best, most advanced technology in the world to build the highest quality electric vehicles for our customers.
“The name Factory ZERO reflects the significant role the facility plays in advancing [our] vision of a world with zero crashes, zero emissions and zero congestion,” explains Barra. “[The facility] will be home to the 2022 GMC Hummer EV pickup, 2024 GMC Hummer EV SUV, Chevrolet Silverado EV and the Cruise Origin, an all-electric, self-driving, shared vehicle.”
According to Barra, GM retooled Factory ZERO for EV production for two-thirds the capital required to build a greenfield plant, making the facility a model for future renovations. Using virtual tools and working in parallel with production engineering teams, GM cut the manufacturing launch time in half—from two years to less than one. Traditionally, greenfield assembly plant planning and construction can take up to four years from site selection to vehicle production.
“To meet our ambitious transition, [our] North American EV vehicle assembly capacity will reach 20 percent by 2025 and then 50 percent by 2030,” claims Gerald Johnson, GM’s executive vice president of global manufacturing and sustainability. “Factory ZERO serves as a model for transitions that will take place at other factories around the world in the coming years.”
Johnson estimates that 80 percent of the assembly process for an EV is the same as that for conventional vehicles. He says this is another “driver of speed for GM. [We have] refined and perfected [our] own standardized manufacturing processes over many decades. [That will enable us to] launch [our] expanding portfolio of EVs faster, with superior quality and a lower cost.”