General Motors will shut down Factory Zero in Detroit for four weeks, starting June 27, to prep it for the production of more battery-electric vehicles, including the new Silverado EV pickup. Currently it builds only the GMC Hummer pickup.
The announcement comes as archrival Ford Motor Co. is shipping the F-150 Lightning EV to customers and dealers around the country and moving into the lead in offering a battery-electric vehicles in the pivotal and profitable full-size pickup truck segment.
The scope of the impending, monthlong shutdown at Factory Zero was spelled out in an e-mail to TheDetroitBureau.com from GM spokesman Dan Flores.
“GM will expand production capacity at Factory Zero sooner than originally planned by pulling forward the installation of tooling, machinery, and equipment. These upgrades will also help prepare the plant for future products, including the Chevrolet Silverado EV. GM has notified employees it will be taking downtime to facilitate the related work,” Flores said in an email.
“To complete the work, the plant will be down the weeks of June 27, July 4, July 11 and July 18,” he said.
Updates may not mean any change in plans
GM, however, has not yet said if it plans to change date for shipping the first Silverado EVs from Factory Zero, which is one the plants GM designated to build electric vehicles as part of the company’s multi-billion-dollar investment in EVs and EV technology.
Back in January, GM Chairman Mary Barra said the Silverado EV would be ready for sales in the Spring of 2023 as a 2024 model.
To complete the plant upgrades, GM will temporarily halt production of the GMC Hummer EV, the first vehicle built on the automaker’s Ultium platform, which began coming out of Factory Zero just before Christmas.
GM reported delivering 99 GMC Hummer EVs during the first quarter, according to the sales report the company released at the beginning of April. But the number is expected to increase substantially when the GM releases sales for the second quarter in early July.
Others are delivering vehicles
Rivian, the electric-vehicle startup, began delivering the R1T battery-electric pickup in limited quantities last fall.
Earlier this month, Ford said deliveries of the F-150 Lightning are underway. At the end of May, dealers took delivery and sold 201 F-150 Lightnings, with more in transit as volumes continue to ramp up. More than 75% of the people who have reserved an F-150 Lightning are new to Ford, officials said citing reservation data.
Another element of GM’s EV strategy began taking shape this week, when GM confirmed it was shipping 150 battery electric vehicles to Federal Express. The commercialization of the BrightDrop Zevo 600 as the fastest vehicle to market development in GM’s long history, GM noted.
“At FedEx, we have ambitious sustainability goals, and our phased approach to vehicle electrification is a crucial part of our roadmap to achieve carbon neutral global operations,” said Mitch Jackson, FedEx chief sustainability officer.
“In just under six months, we’ve taken delivery of 150 BrightDrop Zevo 600s for our parcel pickup and delivery fleet. In today’s climate of chip shortages and supply chain issues, that’s no ordinary feat and a true testament to the collaboration between FedEx and BrightDrop.”