GM Investing Heavily In Its Next-Gen Electric Vehicles and Batteries

Despite all its recent recall woes and accompanying negative publicity, General Motors GM shows no signs of slowing down its plans for the future.

On Tuesday, the automaker announced it was preparing for the next generation of electric vehicles and advanced battery technologies – by investing $449 million for manufacturing upgrades at its Detroit-Hamtramck and Brownstown plants.

The company is investing $65 million in its Brownstown Township battery plant, to produce batteries for the next generation of electric vehicles – with $384 million going to the Detroit-Hamtramck facility.

“These investments will help the next-generation Chevrolet Volt build on its position as the leader in electrified propulsion,” Gerald Johnson, GM North America Manufacturing vice president, said in a press statement. The announcement also means that, over the past five years, GM has invested more than $1 billion in its Detroit-Hamtramck facility.

Speaking at the Automotive Press Association in Detroit on Tuesday, Johnson told reporters the company expects the investments could lead to more new regional hiring. While he would not give details, sources tell The Detroit News that 1,400 new jobs would come from the cash infusion.

GM says its Detroit-Hamtramck assembly plant is the world’s only automotive plant that mass-produces extended-range electric vehicles – including the Volt, the Cadillac ELR and the Opel Ampera – for markets in 33 countries. The plant also builds Chevrolet Maibus and Impalas.

The Volt has been a disappointment, so far, for GM. Despite price cuts and discounting, just over 58,000 Volts have reportedly been sold since the car entered the market in late 2010.

But Johnson sounded optimistic about the prospects for latest-model version of the Volt, which should be on the market by around 2016.

“I have obviously seen the next generation Volt.,” he told WWJ-TV. “I think the customers who drive the Volt and see the Volt are going to be very impressed with the next generation product.”

Posted In: Alternative Energyalternative energy vehiclesautomotiveautomotive industryAutomotive Press Associationelectric vehiclesGerald Johnsonlithium-ion batteriesNewsEurozoneTravelEventsGlobalMarketsTechMediaPress ReleasesGeneral