General Motors has reopened its Factory Zero assembly plant in Detroit. It comes after the site spent the last year-and-a-half offline retooling to make electric vehicles.
Previously known as “Poletown,” General Motors had announced plans to close the plant in November of 2018. The facility was ultimately saved one year later during collective bargaining with the United Auto Workers union.
“Instead of marrying the vehicle’s front to a vehicle’s engine and transmission, you’re now marrying it to a battery.” — Chelsea Zenk, General Motors
Chelsea Zenk is the quality director at Factory Zero. She says the plant is laid out to build multiple electrified models.
“We have in general,” says Zenk, “in our general assembly instead of having one continuous assembly line we actually have multiple mod lines that can be tooled up to build individual specific vehicles.”
Zenk says the assembly process for an electric vehicle will look similar to that of a gasoline-powered one.
“The only thing that’s really fundamentally different,” says Zenk, “is that instead of marrying the vehicle’s front to a vehicle’s engine and transmission, you’re now marrying it to a battery and its propulsion source.”
The Hummer E.V. will be the first vehicle to roll off the assembly line at Factory Zero. The plant will also produce Cruise Origin autonomous shuttles and an electric version of the Chevrolet Silverado pickup — set for unveil in January at CES in Las Vegas.
Listen: Chelsea Zenk producing electric vehicles at Factory Zero.