Ohio Senators Want to Know GM's EV Plans, Demand American Production

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
ohio senators want to know gms ev plans demand american production

Two senators in Ohio, home to the unfortunate Lordstown Assembly plant, want answers from General Motors. Following the automaker’s announcement that it will withdraw the plant’s sole product — the Chevrolet Cruze — in March of 2019, leaving the factory’s remaining 1,500 workers out of a job, politicians on both sides of the border want to know what GM’s plans for electric and autonomous mobility mean for their constituents.

If GM’s truly planning on springing a wave of electric vehicles on American buyers, Congress wants assurances that American workers will build them.

The two senators, Republican Rob Portman and Democrat Sherrod Brown, made their wishes clear in a letter to GM, demanding to hear back no later than December 21st, Automotive News reports.

One of the vehicles culled by GM’s restructuring plan is the Chevy Volt, built at Detroit-Hamtramck, alongside the equally doomed Cadillac CT6, Buick LaCrosse, and Chevrolet Impala. The Volt is a symbolic car. As the nation’s first “range-extended electric vehicle,” it served as the technologically advanced face of the post-bankruptcy GM and proof that the nation’s oft-derided auto industry could crank out something capable of trouncing the latest from Europe and Japan.

And yet buyers aren’t all that hot for it. Certainly, GM isn’t, either. This means the Orion Assembly-built Chevy Bolt will soon be the automaker’s only EV, and only plug-in vehicle of any kind. Portman and Brown’s letter demands to know GM’s plans for the electric vehicles it claims are in development. Will they be SUVs and crossovers? Where will they be built? The senators want GM to promise that U.S. workers, not Mexican or Korean ones, will assemble those clean and green products.

There’s quite a bit of fact-finding in the letter. The duo also requested that GM provide estimates on the number of supplier jobs that would be lost if Lordstown closes for good. Last week, GM CEO Mary Barra said Lordstown’s fate would be decided during 2019 UAW contract talks, adding that she’s keeping an “open mind” about it.

That said, the plant’s future isn’t looking good. GM officials have told Congress that prepping Lordstown to handle a new vehicle, presumably an electric one, would take one to two years, with other officials stating that this isn’t likely to happen.

[Image: General Motors]

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  • Garrett Garrett on Dec 12, 2018

    The Volt’s problem was never the technology. It’s actually a very creative approach. The problem was the car they wrapped around it. I couldn’t actually sit upright in the back seat.

    • Luke42 Luke42 on Dec 13, 2018

      Likewise. I followed the Volt from the first concept. It looked great on paper, and I desperately wanted one. It also drove nicely.and had fantastic NVH. But I met my wife and started having kids between the time the car was announced and when it made it to a Chevy Dealer Near Me. Suddenly that missing 5th set was a big deal: that seat is really useful with one kid and way more useful with three kids. We kept our Prius. Like the old joke in trade-a-plane: I've screwed out of my Volt; I have too many kids. Ultimately, I'm happy with my life choices! But, yeah, the Volt is a car for empty nesters. Alas, interesting cars still need daily-utility to survive in the marketplace.

  • Gasser Gasser on Dec 12, 2018

    I'm hoping that all these stoners and jerks are enjoying their jobless benefits as this former Ford family drives Honda and Hyundai now. As to GM, if they took the bail out, they owe us something. The U.S. government was stupid to not demand seats on the Board of Directors in the terms of the loan guarantees. Next time a "too big to fail" company teeters, let us remember that gratitude is not a word spoken by CEOs, and spend the cash on easing the hurt of the failure, not on a bailout.

    • FOG FOG on Dec 12, 2018

      @gasser, let us start with the U.S. Postal service. Then let us move to all the elected officials and let them pay their own way instead of us making them wealthy.

  • Tassos You should call your columns "EXHUMATION OF THE DAY". FIts perfectly with this 'find'. How deep did you have to dig to exhume it? Let rotting carcasses lie!
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  • Rng65694730 All auto makers seem to be having problems ! Still supply chain issues !
  • MrIcky I'd go 2500 before I went 1500 with a 6.2. I watched an engineer interview on the 2.7l. I appreciate that their focus on the 2.7 was to make it perform like a diesel and all of their choices including being a relatively large i4 instead of an i6 were all based around it feeling diesel like in it's torque delivery. It's all marketing at the end of the day, but I appreciated hearing the rationale. Personally I wouldnt want to tow much more than 7-8k lbs with a light truck anyway so it seems to fit the 1500 application.