GM has reportedly chosen the site where it will assemble the advanced lithium-ion battery packs for its upcoming 2011 Chevrolet Volt plug-in electric hybrid, investing millions more in the state of Michigan.
According to the Detroit News, GM has chosen an industrial park in Brownstown Township, located south of Detroit, as the location for its battery assembly operations. Although GM spokeswoman Sherrie Childers Arb could not confirm the location, Brownstown Township's economic development manager Joe DiSanto says the automaker is looking at a site between Sibley and King Roads near Interstate 75.
"We're excited," DiSanto said. "We think we're the logical choice because we're used to growth and fast-tracking projects and working with businesses."
Brownstown Township approved a 50 percent tax break on new machinery and equipment for up to 12 years for the operation. The $43-million plant could create up to 600 jobs if the Volt is successful. The tax breaks must be approved by the state, but sources told the Detroit News that GM is already planning a public event to announce the new location as early as next month.
Brownstown Township would be a convenient location for GM's battery assembly for several reasons. Located along I-75, the site is close to both the Willow Run and Detroit Metropolitan airports, where the battery cells (sourced from Korea's LG Chem) could be flown in before assembly. The township is also remarkably close to Hamtramck, where the Volt itself will be built.
Analysts say GM's biggest concern with the Brownstown Township location is whether it is big enough to meet initial production demands or not. If the plant can't be expanded, GM would have to open a second plant. GM plans initially to build 10,000 Volts.
Source: The Detroit News