Report: GM will invest $3 billion to build electric trucks and vans—and maybe even a Hummer EV—in Detroit
The E-10, the EV-swapped pickup Chevrolet brought to the 2019 SEMA Show, previewed a future of electrified classics. Might it also have hinted at an upcoming all-new plug-in pickup from the automaker?
A year ago, the future of General Motors’ Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly, one of the last automotive plants remaining within Motor City limits, looked bleak. The facility, which built the now-dead Chevrolet Volt and the Cadillac CT6 (which was and is on shaky ground ) was on the automaker’s shortlist of North American plants to shutter.
It now seems poised to lead GM’s charge into the future. As Automotive News and other sources report, Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly is slated to receive a substantial chunk of GM’s $7.7 billion in planned United States investment; this will equip it to build a line of all-new electric trucks, pickups and more.
Industry watcher LMC Automotive told Automotive News that these vehicles could start rolling off assembly lines as early as 2021—with an electric version of the GMC Sierra and Cadillac Escalade to follow in 2023.
Even if these are the plans now, we’ll believe the big electric Caddy when we see it. All of this, we assume, is liable to change if market conditions shift.
However the specifics play out, the plant’s salvation is apparently the result of GM’s recent negotiations with the UAW following a protracted strike. The relevant section of the 2019 GM-UAW agreement (which you can check out here; it’s on page 245) mentions, among “major investment” in its North American facilities, “Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly: Electric Truck and Van assembly, including the assembly of Battery Modules. This represents approximately $3.0 billion of investment and approximately 2,225 new jobs when full volumes are attained.”
This is all fairly nonspecific; beyond stating that its new four-year agreement opens up “the opportunity to bring an all-new electric pickup” to Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly, GM has not confirmed any future product.
While rumors of electric truck production have been floating around for a while now, perhaps on an all-new EV platform dubbed BT1, the prospect of an electric van (which makes a lot of sense as a fleet vehicle) is further fodder for speculation.
Even more of a left-field possibility: a revitalized, electric Hummer brand.
A plug-in Hummer would represent an almost total repudiation of all of the gas-guzzling sport utility excess the nameplate came to stand for prior to the bailout of GM. But maybe that’s why it would work. These days, who knows?
In any case, it would allow GM to serve up a capable electric truck—one to counter upcoming EV offerings from the likes of Tesla and Rivian (remember, Ford has pumped substantial capital into that startup effort)—without muddying well-known nameplates like Chevrolet or GMC.
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