As part of its aggressive expansion into electric vehicles, GM plans to fund a $200 million EV component supply facility in Auburn Hills, Michigan to provide the nearby GM Orion Assembly plant with parts.
The chosen 873-acre site housed the Palace of Auburn Hills, previously home to the Detroit Pistons, according to an article in Crain’s Detroit Business, before the sports arena was demolished in 2020 after the Pistons moved elsewhere.
GM will present full details of its project to the Auburn Hills Planning Commission on Wednesday, May 3rd, 2023, though The General submitted draft plans for its new plant to the city government of Auburn Hills in late spring 2022, roughly 12 months ago.
Construction workers are expected to break ground on the new EV part facility in July 2023 and complete the work by November 2024. The facility will include 1.1 million square feet of floor space. Three eight-hour shifts of approximately 350 workers each will give the site a total workforce of more than 1,000 employees and keep the assembly lines running 24 hours per day.
GM will not actually own the site, but will lease it from the current owners, Detroit Pistons owner Tom Gores and commercial real estate firm Schostak Brothers & Company, the latter headquartered in Livonia, Michigan. Schostak Brothers will oversee the construction while GM supplies the $200 million investment needed to develop the site for EV parts manufacturing.
The Auburn Hills plant will manufacture components specifically for EV pickup trucks, according to GM representative Maria Raynal. GM is investing $6.5 billion in GM Orion Assembly and GM’s Lansing Delta Township Assembly facility, transforming the region into a “hub” for EV production.
While Chevy Silverado EV pickups will initially be produced at Factory Zero in Detroit-Hamtramck, GM plans to build both the electric Silverado and the GMC Sierra EV at Orion Assembly. The Auburn Hills plant will be a nearby facility providing some of the necessary parts for GM’s planned expanded production of EV trucks.
At the same time as significant Silverado EV and Sierra EV production is set to kick off, GM has decided to end production of its entry-level Chevy Bolt EV and Chevy Bolt EUV models. Both the Bolt EV and Bolt EUV are currently made at Orion Assembly, so discontinuing these vehicles will enable retooling the facility for EV pickup production.
GM received in excess of 170,000 orders for the Chevy Silverado EV as of October 2022. The 2024 Chevy Silverado EV 3WT and 4WT trims will go into production at Factory Zero at some time in 2023. The lower-end trims will be introduced at a later date. It isn’t known yet if all trim levels will eventually be produced at Orion Assembly or if some will only be built at Factory Zero.
As a reminder, GM builds the Chevy Silverado EV on its latest all-electric BT1 platform, the same underpinnings used for the GMC Hummer EV and GMC Sierra EV. The GM Ultium battery technology and GM Ultium Drive motor technology provide power, with as much as 400 miles range available on a single charge.