DETROIT, Mich.—General Motors is spending $2.2 billion to refurbish a Detroit factory so it can produce electric and self-driving vehicles, according to the New York Times.
In a statement, GM announced that the factory will start constructing the company's first electric pickup truck late in 2021 and eventually will hire 2,000 employees. After that, plans call for creating a “funky-looking” self-driving shuttle for GM's Cruise autonomous vehicle unit.
In late 2018, GM reported it would close the factory along with three others in the U.S. But the automaker promised to dedicate itself to building electric vehicles following contentious contract negotiations with the United Auto Workers union last fall. At that time, the plant employed about 1,500 hourly and salaried workers. Currently, the plant is working on one shift with about 900 workers making the Cadillac CT6 and Chevrolet Impala sedans.
The factory will be GM’s first fully dedicated assembly plant for electric vehicles. The automaker will close the factory next month for renovations. GM already has announced plans for a joint venture with LG Chem to invest $2.3 billion to construct a battery cell factory in Lordstown, Ohio. The factory will supply cells to vehicles made at the Detroit plant and employ up to 1,000 people.
Mary Barra, CEO of GM, has promised an “all-electric future,” with the company slated to develop 20 electric models that it plans to sell worldwide by 2023.