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A New Chevrolet EV Is Coming, Will Be Made in Michigan

Car and Driver logo Car and Driver 3/22/2019 Clifford Atiyeh
The new model will be built on a next-gen version of the Chevy Bolt EV’s platform. The announcement comes in the wake of angry statements from President Trump about a GM plant closing in Ohio.© Jeffrey Sauger The new model will be built on a next-gen version of the Chevy Bolt EV’s platform. The announcement comes in the wake of angry statements from President Trump about a GM plant closing in Ohio.

Chevrolet will introduce a new electric crossover and build it in Michigan to comply with pending USCMA regulations, the company said on Friday.

The unnamed EV will be built and sold alongside the compact Bolt EV after Cadillac releases its first dedicated EV, which was shown as a rendering in January. Both cars will share a next-gen version of the Bolt EV's platform but will grow taller and wider and stretch out in ways the little Bolt EV can't. General Motors said that it originally planned to manufacture the new Chevy EV outside the country but that "many factors"-possibly President Trump's tweets over the past week were part of that?-convinced executives to build the car where UAW workers assemble the Bolt EV, the Sonic, and Cruise Automation automated vehicles in Orion Township, Michigan.

In April 2018, Buick revealed an electric crossover rendering called the Enspire with a claimed 370 miles of range and 550 horsepower. GM did not say where it would build the Cadillac or Buick EVs, but all will ride on the same platform. On-sale dates have not been announced.

On Sunday, Trump said he talked with GM CEO Mary Barra about the Lordstown, Ohio, plant (it builds the last of the Chevrolet Cruze sedans) and claimed that she "blamed the UAW union" for the closure. Neither Barra nor GM released a response to Trump's statements that GM and the UAW would begin negotiations in the fall or to his plea for GM to close a plant in China or Mexico to "bring jobs home."

Similar to Ford's announcement on Wednesday that it will invest more money into its Flat Rock, Michigan, plant to build next-gen EVs, GM's plan is meant to comply with the USCMA. The new agreement requires automakers to pay higher wages for workers building cars in North America and source more components, such as seats and raw materials including steel, from domestic manufacturers. The USCMA revises the North American Free Trade Agreement that began in 1994, and it goes into full effect starting in 2023. In order to qualify for zero-duty trade among the three nations, automakers must certify that 75 percent of a car's parts are made in North America. Certain EV batteries, however, are excepted from this requirement.

In total, GM estimates it will create 700 new jobs after slashing about 14,000 nationwide and idling five plants across the Midwest and Canada. A $300 million investment will pay to retool the plant and hire the new workers. The 2800 union employees who haven't been fired from the plants in Lordstown, Ohio, along with assembly and transmission plants in Michigan, Maryland, and Ontario, have the option of choosing from 2700 open manufacturing jobs across the United States, including at Orion. GM said that 1200 of these 2800 employees are "retirement eligible," which doesn't necessarily mean they can afford to retire.

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