Co. invests $23.5 million in a Baltimore transmission plant to increase production of vehicle electrification components, another step in the auto maker’s aggressive push into battery-electric vehicles.
The auto maker uses grant money from the U.S. Department of Energy to assist with the investment. Last year, the DOE announced it would make $2.4 billion in grants available to industry to accelerate battery manufacturing and the deployment of EVs. GM received $105 million to put toward projects over a 3-year period.
The Obama Admin. has made EV production a key priority, with the goal of leapfrogging Asian countries in battery-making expertise and putting some 1 million EVs on American roadways by 2015.
The push came after a severe run-up in fuel prices two years ago, an economic event contributing to bankruptcies atCorp. and LLC.
Local grants of more than $6 million also reportedly help GM expand at the Maryland plant, known as White Marsh and now a hub of EV activity for the auto maker.
GM says it will reveal more about products related to the investment at a later date. It will create 11 new jobs to be filled according to an agreement with the United Auto Workers union.
The investment comes less than one year after GM decided to sink $246 million into the facility to build electric drive motors for the auto maker’s 2-Mode Hybrid system, which currently appears on large pickups and SUVs. It is expected to migrate to smaller vehicles beginning in 2012.
GM plans to build a new facility on the White Marsh property to accommodate production of the motors beginning in 2013, creating 200 jobs.
The 10-year-old plant currently employs about 200 salaried and hourly workers, building traditional truck transmissions in addition to the hybrids.
In the last two weeks, GM has announced participation in two EV demonstration projects, one in South Korea and the other in Germany, and before the end of the year will launch its much-anticipated Chevy Volt extended-range electric vehicle.