GM Renames is Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly Plant 'Factory ZERO' to Represent the Automaker's Future

GM Renames is Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly Plant 'Factory ZERO' to Represent the Automaker's Future

Author: Eric Walz   

U.S. automaker General Motors (GM) has been continuously built vehicles at its Detroit Hamtramck assembly plant since it first opened 35 years ago. Over that time span, the factory has built over 4 million gas-powered vehicles, including the Cadillac Eldorado, which is the first model to roll off the assembly line back in 1985.

Now the facility is being retooled to become GM's premier electric vehicle plant, where the automaker will build many of its future EVs. The factory is also getting a new name that aligns with GM's corporate mission of zero crashes, zero emissions and zero congestion. The new name is "Factory ZERO" and the plant will be the launchpad for GM's future EV strategy.

As GM's plan for a zero emission future, Factory ZERO will only build electric vehicles.

The facility will be packed with advanced technology with a focus on sustainable manufacturing. Among the new vehicles that will be built there include the upcoming GMC Hummer EV pickup and the Cruise Origin fully-electric autonomous shuttle, and other new EVs that GM is planning to produce. Production of the GMC Hummer EV pickup will begin in late 2021.

GM is investing $2.2 billion in the facility for retooling and upgrades in order to build EVs at scale. The investment by GM It represents the single largest investment in a plant in the automaker's history. Once fully operational, Factory ZERO will also create more than 2,200 U.S. manufacturing jobs. 

GM's Factory ZERO Represents a Changing Detroit

The retooled plant will also represent the changing auto industry in the U.S., as Detroit's automakers pivot from building internal combustion engine powered vehicles to those powered by batteries.

"Factory ZERO is the next battleground in the EV race and will be GM's flagship assembly plant in our journey to an all-electric future," said Gerald Johnson, GM executive vice president of Global Manufacturing. "The electric trucks and SUVs that will be built here will help transform GM and the automotive industry."

Detroit has long been the official home of the U.S. auto industry. However over the years, overseas automakers, including Honda, Toyota, BMW, Hyundai and Volkswagen have built new assembly factories outside of Michigan in Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama and South Carolina. 

Japan's Toyota, for example, builds the popular Camry sedan in Kentucky, which for years was the best selling sedan in the U.S. As a result, Detroit is no longer the epicenter of advanced vehicle manufacturing it once was. But GM's Factory ZERO might help to reverse this trend.


Renovations continue at the General Motors Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly Plant Friday, Sept. 11, 2020. (Photo: GM)

GM's Factory ZERO also represents the next phase of modernization of the U.S. auto industry in Detroit, as well as its shift towards building more electric vehicles, which GM needs to fend off formidable rivals like Tesla.

Tesla builds its electric vehicles in California and over the past decade has risen to become the world's most valuable automaker, with a market cap of over $400 billion, making the company more valuable that Detroit's big three automakers combined. 

However, GM's new advanced EV architecture will position the automaker to better compete with Tesla and other major automakers that are introducing new fully-electric models.

Both the upcoming GMC HUMMER EV and the Cruise Origin will be built at Factory ZERO on GM's Ultium battery platform, which the automaker revealed in March. The Ultium EV platform will underpin a wide range of new EVs from GM, including cars and trucks. The Ultium architecture will be the core of GM's future EV lineup.

Factory ZERO is also being revamped with a focus on sustainability. The site is using stormwater to reduce discharge costs and offset the cost of potable water. The treated stormwater will be used in cooling towers as well as for the building's fire suppression system. 

The surrounding grounds will also feature a 16.5-acre wildlife habitat and is home to species such as monarchs, foxes and turkeys, GM said.


The upcoming GMC Hummer EV will be built at Factory ZERO.

GM is committed to sourcing 100% of its U.S. facilities with renewable energy by 2030, and all of its global facilities by 2040. GM said that all of the company's facilities in southeast Michigan that are supplied by Detroit-based energy company DTE Energy will be powered by renewable energy by 2023, including Factory ZERO.

Factory ZERO will also feature a 30-kilowatt solar carport and 516-kilowatt ground-mount photovoltaic solar array from DTE.

"This manufacturing plant will be the epitome of GM's vision by sustainably manufacturing electric and shared autonomous vehicles that can help reduce crashes, emissions and congestion," said Dane Parker, GM chief sustainability officer.

GM's 10th annual sustainability report released in July reaffirms the company's commitment to an all electric future. The report outlines GM's plans to introduce 12 new fully-electric models by 2023.  The transformation of Factory ZERO will be an important part of this goal.

GM will reveal the new GMC HUMMER EV on Tuesday, Oct 20.

Eric Walz
Eric Walz
Originally hailing from New Jersey, Eric is a automotive & technology reporter covering the high-tech industry here in Silicon Valley. He has over 15 years of automotive experience and a bachelors degree in computer science. These skills, combined with technical writing and news reporting, allows him to fully understand and identify new and innovative technologies in the auto industry and beyond. He has worked at Uber on self-driving cars and as a technical writer, helping people to understand and work with technology.
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