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GM Investing $230M in Four Plants for Cruze and Volt Production

General Motors Company is investing more than $230 million in four GM plants in the greater Flint, Michigan area to support the production of the fuel-efficient 2011 Chevrolet Cruze and Volt extended range electric vehicle. The four GM plants include Flint Engine South, Flint Metal Center, Flint Tool & Die and Grand Blanc Weld Tool Center.

Key activities performed by the four plants include development of automated equipment and tooling for the Chevy Cruze and Volt assembly plants, die development and stamping of body panels and other components and the manufacturing and assembly of key powertrain components including the 1.4L four-cylinder engine generator for the Volt and the 1.4L four-cylinder turbo engine for the Cruze.

  • Flint Engine South: General Motors Company is investing $202 million in Flint Engine South to renovate the former I5/I6 manufacturing operations for production of a 1.4L four-cylinder engine generator for the Chevrolet Volt and a 1.4L four-cylinder turbo engine for the Cruze.

  • Flint Metal Center: General Motors Company is investing $1.7 million in Flint Metal Center to refurbish press lines that will produce sheet metal stampings for the Volt.

  • Flint Tool and Die: This facility designed dies for the Chevrolet Cruze and is responsible for the construction and tryout of stamping die sets for the Volt program. All dies for the Chevy Volt were engineered at Flint Tool & Die. Approximately 50% of dies for the Volt were designed at this facility.

  • Grand Blanc Weld Tool Center: General Motors Company is investing approximately $30 million in this facility to build the robotic weld tool cells that will assemble the Volt body at the Volt assembly plant. Grand Blanc Weld Tool Center also built the robotic weld tool cells for the body shop to assemble the Chevrolet Cruze at Lordstown (Ohio) Assembly.

The four manufacturing plants have also made significant progress in reducing their impact on the environment. The plants recycle more than 97% of the waste they generate. Materials recycled during the last year include 12 tons of batteries, 47,000 tons of scrap metal, 616 tons of oil, 229 tons of wood and 74 tons of plastic paper.



Some may forget the $25 billion Congress set aside more than a year ago for retooling to make more fuel efficient cars. At this stage, most people may not even care, but it was a step toward getting these kinds of cars made in the U.S.


There's hardly a city in america that needs this kind of investment more than Flint.
If these cars sell and GM keeps investing, hey, michael moore might have to come back and make a different kind of documentary.



that would be Michael's next flick: "GM - A Love Story."


Isn't MM living in Cuba now?

He will need a larger than normal raft.


MM is a target who would be sued off the screen if he didn't state the facts.

al vin had a interesting comment. "Ah yes Reagan, you want to know what he did for you? Look at this;"

The Reagan/Bush's 52.6% GNP US debt increase is a real raft size concern..


TT those sort of comments are not necessary, they lower you to levels below where you all ready are now...and that is low.

Stan Peterson

It is finally apparent that GM is able to and making their normal investments to bring the Cruze (and Volt) to mass manufacture. They have found, or earned the money to do so.

Mean while the ignoramuses at DOE have given a $Billion and a quarter dollars to Tesla and Fisker to make a handful of expensive Lotus variant sports cars, far fewer than the test models that GM has been and will additionally construct, to simply test and refine the Volt design.

Fisker had produced nothing; and exactly zero electric cars. But the money went to Democrat multimillionaire campaign contributors; and to other politically connected individuals, like Al Gore, a principal owner of Fisker, through the Norwegian proposed electric car builder. Fisker may or may not produce its first conceptual model in calendar year 2011.

Isn't it delightful to see your tax moneys so carefully spent on truly worthwhile investments.


By Paul M. Rybski

Auto manufacturers interested in producing plug-in hybrid or battery-powered vehicles are facing two problems. First, they are determined to use Li Ion battery technology that remains unproven for automobile traction applications. Why are they not using the long-proven NiMH traction batteries that are still in use today? Secondly, these auto manufacturers will be buying their batteries from foreign manufacturers because there are no domestic manufacturers. In our rush to develop vehicles that will free us from petroleum acquired from foreign countries, are we not swapping one foreign dependence for another? Let’s examine both of these issues.

Every hybrid automobile in production today uses NiMH batteries, all of which are produced outside of the United States. As pointed out in a recent Union of Concerned Scientists newsletter, these NiMH batteries have been performing extremely well, even though most are far smaller in capacity than drivers would like. However, nearly every auto manufacturer that has announced future production of a plug-in hybrid or fully electric automobile claim their vehicles must run on Li Ion batteries. With the exception of the Tesla and AC Propulsion limited implementations, Li Ion batteries have no track record in traction applications. Yet the Panasonic EV-95 NiMH battery packs used in fully electric Toyota RAV4 EV mini-SUV’s have demonstrated lifetimes in excess of nine years and average vehicle miles in excess of 100,000 miles. Some technologists anticipate only a 50,000-mile lifetime for Li Ion batteries.

If NiMH batteries are being used so successfully, why are American manufacturers fixated on Li Ion batteries? Part of the reason is that petroleum company Chevron owns the patent for the Ovonics NiMH traction battery. Under the ruse of saying they have not had sufficiently convincing proposals brought to them, Chevron continues to deny licenses to any company proposing to manufacture new NiMH traction batteries. Equally aggravating is Chevron’s having filed suit against Toyota in 2003 after Chevron had acquired the Ovonics patent. Part of the settlement reached in this suit enjoined Toyota-Panasonic from manufacturing any additional EV-95 batteries. So every RAV4 EV on the road today (about 320 in private hands and an unknown number of fleet use) is running on its original NiMH battery pack. There were some NiMH battery companies “grandfathered in” at the time of the Chevron/Toyota settlement, but their products are either too small to use in place of the EV-95 or they are inferior in performance.

Surprisingly, Chevron’s legal constraints on NiMH traction battery manufacture are never mentioned as reasons for American manufacturers’ choice of Li Ion chemistry for their batteries. For example, GM has argued that NiMH batteries are substantially heavier per kilowatt-hour than Li Ion batteries. While this claim is true, such weight had not been a barrier to using NiMH batteries to power the more than 500 Toyota RAV4 EV’s currently on the road for more than 110 miles per charge and for a fleet-average use of over 80,000 miles. Nor was it a barrier when they powered about 400 EV-1’s for more than 110 miles between charges before 2003. Ironically, the Li Ion traction pack proposed by GM for the VOLT will weigh more than an equivalently performing EV-95 battery pack because GM has derated the Li Ion pack’s state-of-charge range compared to that used by Toyota for the EV-95.

Finally, regardless of technological base, there are no NiMH or Li Ion batteries manufactured in the United States. One of the reasons many people are pushing for the manufacture of plug-in hybrid and fully-electric vehicles is to reduce the United States’ dependence on foreign oil. With such advocacy, are we not merely switching problems here: from dependence on oil extracted from Middle Eastern countries, whose populations are hostile to Western countries, to dependence on batteries manufactured in the volatile economies of the Asia? SEA should lead the much-needed discussion of how we can obtain an adequate supply of NiMH or Li Ion batteries from American, not foreign, manufacturers for our hoped-for next generation of automobiles.

SEA and other “green” organizations, interested in bringing to market as quickly as possible the next generation of hybrid and electric automobiles, should be holding Chevron’s feet to the fire over Chevron’s deliberately blocking the licensing of Ovonics-derivative NiMH technology. They should also be advocating federal subsidies to encourage American industries, such as Johnson Controls and Ovonics, to develop the battery manufacturing plants needed to supply the traction batteries for this next generation of vehicles. The sooner this advocacy begins and stakeholders are engaged, the sooner plug-in hybrid and battery-powered vehicles will appear in auto dealer show rooms.

Paul M. Rybski is an associate professor in and former chair of the Department of Physics at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. He joined UW-Whitewater in 1987 after having been a research scientist at Yerkes Observatory of the University of Chicago.



Thanks for your posting. We could have had plug in hybrids using NiMH batteries on our roads the last 10 years, but did not. It is a shame and the amount of imported oil reduction would have been significant. But when an oil company owns key battery technology you are less likely to have plug in hybrids on the road over the last 10 years reducing the amount of imported oil.


Auto manufacturers world wide are determined to move from NiMH to Li Ion battery technology because innovation and progress are needed.

Every hybrid automobile in production today uses NiMH batteries, and after 10 years, and even during $4/gal gas, these vehicles are still not cost effective and have short electric only range – progress is the name of the game.

Ovonics's ancient mid 1990s patents on battery format are not an issue. Why pretend 15 year old patents are keeping us from BEVs.

NiMH lifetime in excess of nine years and durability of 100,000 miles is adequate, but irrelevant - they must be affordable.

Legal constraints on NiMH batteries are never mentioned because there are none.
As Paul said, NiMH batteries are substantially heavier and not the answer.

400 EV-1’s in the past and 500 Toyota RAV4 EV’s currently on the road with 110 mile range average use of over 80,000 miles proves nothing – any more than ¼ million Hummers on the road proves MPG does not count.

If there are no NiMH or Li Ion batteries manufactured in the United States - Ovonics is the answer ?

We could have had plug in hybrids using NiMH batteries on our roads the last 10 years, but did not because they were not economical.
Not one auto maker in the world has been able to make them so.

It is a shame that so many people so poorly understand engineering that they would believe the myth of a 15 year old patent – it’s getting more laughable than the 150 mpg carburetor.


Well, you have your opinion and others have theirs. Just saying that NiMH plug hybrids would have not been economical does not make it so. Panasonic not continuing to make the EV-95 battery is fact. After the court action they stopped making them. You can express your opinions as fact all you want, but that is just a way of staying that you are right and everyone else that may not agree with you is wrong. The first step to wisdom is "I don't know".


If your opinion is indefensible, the wise choice is not to say” I don’t know” and embrace some illogical myth, but to find out - see what the experts say.

So, maybe just take a moment and clip out ANY quote from ANY expert that supports your position that practical EVs are being delayed by “Ovshinsky” patents.

Keeping in mind that, when asked, "So it’s your opinion that Cobasys is preventing other people from making it [large format batteries] for that reason?", Stanford Ovshinsky responded "Cobasys is not preventing anybody. Cobasys just needs an infusion of cash."

“Panasonic not continuing to make the EV-95 battery is fact. After the court action they stopped making them.” It obviously takes very little to fuel a myth.

Also don’t forget that the patents in question are ~15 years old – but of course these myths can easily evolve.

What are your opinions on evolution, flat earth, 150 mpg carburetors?

These weird beliefs should be discredited before some of the weak minds in congress screw up our country based on junk science.

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