General Motors is ramping up preparation for the launch of its new Silverado EV later this year. The Detroit, Michigan-based automaker is planning to build a $200 million electric vehicle facility that will support the production of the new truck.
In the first quarter of this year, GM sold over 20,000 EVs for the first. Basking in this euphoria, the company’s CEO Mary Barra said GM is ready for a breakout year. The development is coming on the heels of the company’s announcement that it would end the production of the Chevy Bolt, the cheapest and best-selling EV on its roster. GM sold 19,700 units of Chevy Bolt in the first quarter of this year.
The new era for GM’s EVs hinges on the automaker’s flexible Ultium platform. The EV architecture is designed to accommodate a wide range of models from the Blazer EV to the Chevy Equinox, and the Silverado EV pickup which will all be launching before the end of 2023.
Earlier, GM announced the retooling of its Orion Assembly facility with a $4 billion investment. The plant was the home of Chevy Bolt EV production. The massive investment would prepare the plant for the upcoming Silverado EV. However, GM also has other plans to boost production.
The $200 million plant will be sited in the Detroit Pistons arena
According to credible sources, GM is mulling the building of the new EV parts facility on the site that previously housed the Detroit Pistons arena that was demolished in 2020. The site spanning 87.3 acres will now host 1.05 million square feet of EV parts and distribution space. Also, another 50,000 square feet of office space would be added to the facility.
“General Motors has identified the former Palace of Auburn Hills site as a potential location for a supplier park to support its Orion Assembly Plant, which will be expanded to produce electric pickup trucks,” the company wrote in a statement.
Although the automaker is planning to produce the Silverado EV simultaneously with the GMC Sierra at its Factory Zero in Detroit before the end of the year, the company will expand to Orion as a second assembly in 2024. GM has set the goal of making 600,000 electric trucks annually.
Already, about 340 fleet customers have queued up for GM’s Work Truck (WT) Silverado EV edition. The production is expected to commence later this quarter. The RST passenger edition will go on sale this summer. The City of Auburn Hills planning commission will meet to deliberate on the proposal.
GM recalls over 40,000 Silverado trucks over the risk of fire
While GM is gearing up for the release of its Silverado EV, the internal combustion version has been recalled over fire risk. The automaker issued a recall notice that potentially affects 40,428 vehicles. The automaker discovered that the Silverado medium-duty trucks for the model year 2019 to 2023 had a potential leak in brake fluid that may lead to a fire.
The exact models affected include the 6500HD, the 5500HD, and the 4500HD. This was revealed through a document posted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) on 21 April 2023. The affected vehicles may have brake pressure sensor assembly that allows brake fluid to leak and potentially result in a short circuit.
That increases the risk of a fire when the vehicle is parked or being driven. The document from the NHTSA advised drivers of the affected vehicle on what to do while looking forward to when the issue would be resolved.
“Owners are advised to park outside and away from structures until the recall repair is complete,” the document advised. “Dealers will replace the master cylinder pressure sensor and inspect the wire harness, replacing it, if necessary, free of charge. Interim letters notifying owners of the safety risk are expected to be mailed on May 29, 2023. Second letters will be mailed once the remedy is available.”
GM said it is not aware that the problem has led to any injuries. Affected drivers can also contact Chevrolet customer service at 1-800-222-1020.
GM’s joint venture entices China buyers with new Wuling Bingo
General Motors started selling Wuling Bingo on 29 March 2023 through its joint venture SGMW (made up of SAIC, GM, and Wuling Motors). The small EV has a starting price of about 59,800 yuan (approx. $8,500). In just a month, SGMW has revealed that it has delivered 16,383 Wuling Bingo.
The joint venture’s best-selling car is the Wuling Hongguag Mini EV which was launched in 2020. In just about 12 months, the Wuling Mini EV overtook Tesla in sales numbers in China. Riding on the success of the Mini EV, the JV has launched other variants including the Wuling Air EV (MG Comet in India) and the Mini EV convertible.
According to Chinese news media, SGMW delivered 522 Wuling Bing EVs in March. However, up to 10,000 deliveries were made in the first two weeks of the EV’s launch. The Wuling Bingo is a 4-seater mini hatchback with a length of 3,950 mm and a width of 1,708 mm. It is 1,580 mm tall.
Regardless of its small size, Wuling Bingo features a versatile interior. It has a 7-inch instrument display and a 10.25-inch infotainment screen. Drivers have the option of choosing an inflatable mattress in the rear which can transform the EV into a mobile camper.
The mini-EV comes in two trims featuring different powertrains. The smaller trim has a 41hp (30kW) and 110 Nm peak torque while the bigger option has 68kW and 150 Nm of torque. The battery options differ too between the two trims. The smaller trim is powered by a 17.3 kWh battery with a range of 126 miles while the bigger trim comes with a 31.9 kWh battery that powers the vehicle through 206 miles on the CLTC standard.
Wuling Bingo will now compete with the BYD Seagull which was launched a week ago with a starting price of 73,800 yuan (approx. $10,700) in the affordable EV market. The price of the Wuling Bingo starts at $8,500 but goes up to $12,100 depending on trim and options.