DETROIT, Michigan: General Motors has announced that it will invest $760 million in its Toledo, Ohio factory to build drive units for electric trucks, its first powertrain facility in the U.S. to supply electrical vehicle production.
GM's six-speed, eight-speed and 10-speed rear-wheel drive and nine-speed front-wheel drive transmissions used in a variety of Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac autos are made at its 2.82-million square foot Toledo transmission plant, renamed Toledo Propulsion Systems, which employs 1,500 people.
In August, the U.S. Congress approved financial incentives aimed at encouraging automakers to convert their plants to produce parts for electric vehicle models.
GM said that "once the plant is converted, it will produce GM's family of EV drive units, which convert electric power from the battery pack to mechanical motion at the wheels."
The plant will produce transmission parts, while building drive units simultaneously, during GM's EV transition, it added.
Fearing it would impact current employment in the auto industry, many workers have expressed concerns about the shift to EVs.
GM is looking for ways to increase electric vehicle capacity beyond its current goal of being able to build 1 million electric vehicles in North America by 2025, said the company's executive vice president, Gerald Johnson.
In 2021, GM said it would stop selling gas-powered vehicles by 2035, while increasing its EV and autonomous vehicle investments from 2020 through 2025 to $35 billion, a 75 percent rise.
Last month, GM and LG Energy Solution announced, under their Ultium joint venture, that they are considering a site in Indiana for a fourth U.S. battery cell manufacturing plant costing some $2.4 billion.
In July, the U.S. Energy Department said it will loan Ultium $2.5 billion to help finance its new lithium-ion battery cell manufacturing facilities.