GM invests US$2bn to develop electric vehicle plant
In an announcement made by General Motors (GM) the company plans to invest US$2bn into the transition of its Spring Hill, Tennessee plant to build electric vehicles.
The transition at Spring Hill will make the plant the third manufacturing plant to produce electric vehicles for the company. Spring Hill will join Factory ZERO in Detroit, and Hamtranck and Orion Assembly in Michigan.
In addition to its US$2mn investment in Spring Hill, GM plans to make an additional five investments, which include:
- Over US$100mn into its production of next generation GMC Acadia at Lansing Delta Township Assembly, Michigan
- US$32mn into its Flint Assembly, Michigan plant for its future production of heavy duty Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra pickups
- US$17mn into its Romulus, Michigan propulsion plant to enhance automation and increase capacity of its 10-speed truck transmission
- US$3.5mn into its Orion Assembly, Michigan
- US$750,000 into its Brownstown Charter Township site in Michigan
“We are committed to investing in the U.S., our employees and our communities. These investments underscore the success of our vehicles today, and our vision of an all-electric future,” commented GM Chairman and CEO Mary Barra.
Over the course of a year and a half (19 months), GM has invested over US$4.5bn in three US manufacturing sites in order to prepare the facilities for the production of electric vehicles.
Separate to its six investments, GM and LG Chem have formed a joint venture known as . Together the two companies aim to invest over US$2.3bn into the development of a new state of the art battery cell manufacturing plant. The new plant will play a vital role in GM’s commitment to developing an all-electric future.
How innovation is transforming government
According to Washington Technology’s Top 100 list, Leidos is the largest IT provider to the government. But as Lieutenant General William J. Bender explains, “that barely scratches the surface” of the company’s portfolio and drive for innovation.
Bender, who spent three and a half decades in the military, including a stint as the U.S. Air Force’s Chief Information Officer (CIO), has seen action in the field and in technology during that time, and it runs in the family. Bender’s son is an F-16 instructor pilot. So it stands to reason Bender Senior intends to ensure a thriving technological base for the U.S. Air Force. “What we’re really doing here is transforming the federal government from the industrial age into the information age and doing it hand-in-hand with industry,” he says.
The significant changes that have taken place in the wider technology world are precisely the capabilities Leidos is trying to pilot the U.S. Air Force through. It boils down to developing cyberspace as a new domain of battle, globally connected and constantly challenged by the threat of cybersecurity attacks.
“We recognize the importance of the U.S. Air Force’s missions,” says Bender, “and making sure they achieve those missions. We sit side-by-side with the air combat command, intelligence surveillance, and reconnaissance infrastructure across the Air Force. There are multiple large programs where the Air Force is partnering with Leidos to ensure their mission is successfully accomplished 24/7/365. In this company, we’re all in on making sure there’s no drop in capability.”
That partnership relies on a shared understanding of delivering successful national security outcomes, really understanding the mission at hand, and Leidos’ long-standing relationship of over 50 years with the federal government.
To look at where technology is going, Bender thinks it is important to look back at the last 10 to 15 years. “What we’ve seen is a complete shift in how technology gets developed,” he says. “It used to be that the government invested aggressively in research and development, and some of those technologies, once they were launched in a military context, would find their way into the commercial space. That has shifted almost a hundred percent now, where the bulk of the research and development dollars and the development of tech-explicit technologies takes place in the commercial sector.”
“There’s a long-standing desire to adopt commercial technology into defense applications, but it’s had a hard time crossing the ‘valley of death’ [government slang for commercial technologies and partnerships that fail to effectively transition into government missions]. Increasingly we’re able to do that. We need to look at open architectures and open systems for a true plug-and-play capability. Instead of buying it now and trying to guess what it’s going to be used for 12 years from now, it should be evolving iteratively.”