General Motors is putting $45 million into expanding its aluminum die casting foundry in Bedford, Indiana, to feed two metro Detroit assembly plants that will produce electric vehicles that are crucial to the automaker's future.
The investment at Bedford, while a small number by comparison with past investments at other GM facilities that have run into the billions, is a critical stake in the automaker's move to go to zero emissions by 2035. Die Casting
That's because this money will fund expanding the facility's production of EV drive unit castings to support full-size pickups: The 2024 Chevrolet Silverado EV and 2024 GMC Sierra Denali Edition 1 EV. The automaker said its EV drive units convert electric power from the battery pack to mechanical motion at the wheels.
The investment follows one GM made in December 2021 when it said it would invest $51 million at Bedford to install new equipment that would support the Silverado EV. In September of this year, GM said it will invest $760 million at its Toledo Propulsion Systems plant to prepare it to make drive units that will be used in the future EVs.
"EV drive unit castings made in Bedford will end up in drive units built at GM’s Toledo plant, which will then ship completed drive units to assembly plants like Factory ZERO and Orion to power products like the Silverado EV," said GM spokesman Dan Flores.
The Silverado EV, which GM expects to start at $39,900, goes into production next year at Orion Assembly plant in Orion Township as well as Factory Zero in Detroit and Hamtramck. The Sierra Denali Limited Edition 1 EV, which starts at $107,000, will be made at Factory Zero.
The Sierra and Silverado EV are important for GM because pickups and big SUVs yield fat profits. If GM is to meet its goal to transition to a full zero-emissions lineup across all its brands by 2035, having successful sales in electric pickups is critical to the bottom line.
During GM's Investor Day on Thursday, company leaders promised that GM's EVs would stop bleeding cash and be profitable in 2025. The ones leading the drive to profits will include EV pickups.
Friday, GM CEO Mary Barra posted a blog on LinkedIn in which she wrote: "The Cadillac Lyriq, GMC Sierra EV, and Chevrolet Equinox EV, Blazer EV and Silverado EV will play the biggest parts in our EV growth story over the next 24-36 months. Next year you’ll start to see many of these hit the road. We plan to scale quickly due to the inherent flexibility and efficiency of Ultium."
Ultium is GM's propulsion system that will underpin and power all of the new 30 EVs GM has promised to launch worldwide by the end of 2025.
The capacity expansion work at Bedford will begin immediately. Last year, the 1-million-square-foot site began producing electric drive unit castings that have been used in the 2022 GMC HUMMER EV pickup, which is being built at Factory Zero.
“Our Bedford operation is one of the leading aluminum die casting facilities in the world and this additional investment is really an investment in the Bedford team and their commitment to excellence," said Phil Kienle, GM vice president of North America manufacturing and labor relations. "This investment helps build job security for our Bedford team for years to come as we continue to prepare our entire manufacturing footprint for an all-electric future."
Since 2011, GM has invested more than $456 million in Bedford Casting Operations.
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