GM to Produce New Efficient Engines in Flint, Michigan
General Motors Corporation (GM) announced on September 25 that it will invest $370 million to build a new manufacturing plant in Flint, Michigan, that will produce efficient 4-cylinder engines. The plant will be the sole North American facility to produce the 1.4-liter naturally aspirated engine used in the Chevrolet Volt, GM's plug-in hybrid vehicle that is touted to travel up to 40 miles without using gasoline or producing emissions. GM unveiled the production version of the Chevrolet Volt this month and expects to begin building the vehicle in 2010. GM also expects to build the 1.4-liter turbo engine for the Chevrolet Cruze, an efficient, compact car expected for global release in mid-2010. In addition to producing efficient engines, the facility itself will be LEED-certified. The U.S. Green Building Council's LEED Green Building Rating System, short for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is a nationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction, and operation of high-performance green buildings. The plant will also be landfill free; all waste from manufacturing operations will be recycled, reused, or converted to energy. See the GM press releases on the new facility and boost in turbo engine manufacturing, and the September 17 article in this newsletter on the Chevrolet Volt.
The Volt will use a lithium-ion battery pack to store 16 kilowatt-hours of electricity. Continental Automotive announced on September 24 that it would begin such production, making them the first to offer series production of lithium-ion batteries for hybrid-drive cars. Lithium-ion batteries offer greater storage capacity than the nickel-metal hydride batteries currently used in hybrid vehicles. The batteries, which will be produced in Nuremberg, Germany, will be installed as standard in the Mercedes S400 BlueHYBRID, a luxury sedan expected in the United States in late 2009. See the Continental press release.