Reporting Alex DeMetrick
WHITE MARSH, Md. (WJZ) – Eliminating the import. That’s what General Motors has done with a new production plant unveiled Tuesday in White Marsh.
As Alex DeMetrick reports, it’s not a whole new car, just the part that makes it possible.
Outside, GM rolled out its latest electric vehicle, called the Spark EV. Inside, it opened its doors to the White Marsh plant that makes the Spark go.
“Today commemorates the fact that we’re making these motors right here on U.S. soil and we’re the first domestic automaker to do so,” said General Motors Vice President Lee Goodwin.
It’s a two-part electric motor made up of copper wires and a spinning magnet.
“Electric motors have to be smooth and quiet and powerful and reliable,” said GM Electrification Engineer Larry Nitz.
It’s a far cry from the old GM assembly plant on Broening Highway that closed years ago. High-tech machinery and robots now mesh with people to build the motors.
This plant joins a much larger transmission factory next door, but the product represents a gamble by GM that sales of electric vehicles are just beginning to rev up–a big change from pushing gas guzzlers in the past.
“How nice it is to be an automobile company and be for fuel economy rather than be opposing it,” Goodwin said.
If this plant is catching the wave of the future, autoworkers hope it brings back a bit of the past.
“As both our plants grow, we might have an opportunity to bring some of our people back home who had to transfer to other locations,” said UAW Local President Fred Swanner.
There’s certainly plenty of room to expand, provided the Spark and other electric vehicles spin off sales.
The Spark will begin going on sale this summer. The number of miles it gets per charge has not yet been released by General Motors.