General Motors in announcing upgrades for several U.S. plants on Tuesday confirmed that the Orion Assembly plant in Orion Township, Michigan, will be upgraded to handle production of full-size electric pickup trucks, starting with the recently revealed Chevrolet Silverado EV and a related GMC Sierra model in 2024. The electric Sierra will be revealed later this year.
GM will invest $4 billion on upgrades to the plant, which is expected to create more than 2,350 direct jobs as well as retain approximately 1,000 current jobs when the plant is fully operational. New additions to the plant will include expanded body and paint shops and new general assembly and battery pack assembly areas.
The plant currently builds the Chevy Bolt and related Bolt EUV. It isn't clear if these models will still be in production when the plant starts building the Silverado EV and electric Sierra.
Orion Assembly will become the third GM plant capable of building vehicles based on the automaker's Ultium EV platform. The first was the Factory Zero plant in nearby Detroit-Hamtramck, which is churning out the GMC Hummer EV and next year will add a Hummer EV SUV. The Cruise Origin self-driving shuttle is also due to be built at Factory Zero at some point.
GMC Electric Sierra Denali teaser
GM has also upgraded its Spring Hill Assembly plant in Spring Hill, Tennessee, to handle production of Ultium-based vehicles. The plant is already churning out pre-production examples of the Cadillac Lyriq. Customer examples of the electric crossover should be in production within weeks.
GM also announced on Tuesday plans to build a plant in Lansing, Michigan, for Ultium battery cells. The plant, which will be run by a joint venture between GM and LG Energy Solution, will require a $2.6 billion investment. The investment is expected to create more than 1,700 direct jobs once the plant is operational around late 2024.
The Lansing site will be GM's third for Ultium cells in the U.S., following two similar plants being constructed in Ohio and Tennessee.
The automaker aims to have the capacity to build more than one million electric vehicles in North America annually by 2025. It also aims to be the leader for EV sales in North America by that date. That's a big call as it would mean overtaking Tesla in the space of only three years.