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GM unveils Factory Zero as it embarks on electric vehicle push

GM unveils  Factory Zero  as it embarks on electric vehicle push
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Renovations and new construction at the General Motors Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly Plant on Friday, Sept. 11, 2020. (Jeffrey Sauger/General Motors via CNN)

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Once destined for closure, General Motors Detroit-Hamtramck assembly plant has since been reborn with a new mission -- to solely build electric vehicles -- and a new name. On Friday, GM announced the plant will be called Factory Zero.

The factory will build the new GMC Hummer EV electric truck late next year. It s also expected to build the Cruise Origin, a self-driving electric vehicle designed by GM and Honda.

The factory had been slated to close as part of a massive restructuring at the company, but it was saved following negotiations with the United Auto Workers union during last year s strikes.

Factory Zero will eventually employ about 2,200 workers, a GM spokesperson said. GM announced earlier this year that it was investing US$2.2 billion into the factory for retooling and upgrades so it could be used to build electric vehicles.

The factory has also been reconstructed to minimize its environmental impact, GM said. During construction work, waste concrete was used to build temporary roadways. The new factory will also recycle storm water for use in cooling towers and fire suppression systems.

GM has previously committed to using 100% renewable energy, such as wind and solar power, to run all of its US factories by 2030. Factory Zero, for instance, will have a 30-kilowatt solar carport and a 516-kilowatt ground-mounted solar panel array.

The site also has a 16.5-acre wildlife habitat that is home to foxes, wild turkeys and monarch butterflies, GM said.

The factory straddles a city line between Detroit and Hamtramck, Michigan. It previously manufactured the Chevrolet Volt plug-in hybrid car, as well as sedans like the Chevrolet Malibu and Impala.

The name Factory Zero is a play on Factory One, GM s name for the historic Durant-Dort factory in Flint, Michigan. Once home to a carriage manufacturing company founded by William Durant who later started General Motors, the restored building was opened in 2017 as an archive housing historic GM documents.

Last month, GM competitor Ford announced plans for a new factory at its large Rouge site in Dearborn, Michigan, that will build new all-electric F-150 pickups.
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