General Motors is placing $45 million to expand its aluminum die casting foundry in Bedford, Indiana, to feed two metro Detroit assembly plants that will build EVs critical to the automaker’s future, according to Detroit Free Press.
While it’s a small number by comparison with previous investments at other GM facilities that have run into the billions, the investment at Bedford is a significant stake in the manufacturer’s move to go to zero emissions by 2035.
That is because the money will support expanding the facility’s production of EV drive unit castings to back full-size pickups: The 2024 Chevrolet Silverado EV and 2024 GMC Sierra Denali Edition 1 EV. The company said its EV drive units convert electric power from the battery pack to the wheel’s mechanical motion.
GM’s investments in December 2021 and September 2022
The investment follows one GM made in December last year when it said it would invest $51 million at Bedford to put in new equipment that would support the Silverado EV. In September 2022, the carmaker stated it would invest $760 million at its Toledo Propulsion Systems plant in preparation for making drive units that will be used in future electric vehicles.
“EV drive unit castings made in Bedford will end up in drive units built at GM’s Toledo plant, which will then ship completed drive units to assembly plants like Factory ZERO and Orion to power products like the Silverado EV,” GM spokesman Dan Flores said.
The Silverado EV & Sierra Denali Limited Edition 1 EV
The Silverado EV, which GM anticipates to begin at $39,900, will go into production next year at the Orion Assembly plant in Orion Township and factory Zero in Detroit and Hamtramck.
Meanwhile, the Sierra Denali Limited Edition 1 EV, starting at $107,000, will be produced at Factory Zero.
The Sierra and Silverado EV are essential for GM because pickups and big SUVs yield huge profits. If the company will have to meet its goal of a full zero-emissions lineup transition across all its brands by 2035, having successful sales in electric pickups is crucial to the bottom line.
GM’s Investor Day
During GM’s Investor Day, company leaders vowed that in 2025, GM’s EVs would stop bleeding cash and be profitable. The ones leading the profits will include EV pickups.
“The Cadillac Lyriq, GMC Sierra EV, Chevrolet Equinox EV, Blazer EV, and Silverado EV will play the biggest parts in our EV growth story over the next 24-36 months. Next year you’ll start to see many of these hit the road. We plan to scale quickly due to the inherent flexibility and efficiency of Ultium.” GM CEO Mary Barra wrote in a blog post on LinkedIn.
Ultium is GM’s propulsion system that will support and power all of the new 30 EVs GM has pledged to launch worldwide by the end of 2025.
Capacity expansion work at Bedford
Furthermore, Bedford’s capacity expansion work will start immediately. In 2021, the 1-million-square-foot site started producing electric drive unit castings used in the 2022 GMC HUMMER EV pickup built at Factory Zero.
“Our Bedford operation is one of the leading aluminum die casting facilities in the world and this additional investment is really an investment in the Bedford team and their commitment to excellence,” says GM vice president of North America manufacturing and labor relations Phil Kienle.
“This investment helps build job security for our Bedford team for years to come as we continue to prepare our entire manufacturing footprint for an all-electric future.”
Since 2011, General Motors has invested more than $456 million in Bedford Casting Operations.