General Motors announced that it will build the electric motors and drive units for the new Chevrolet Spark EV at its Baltimore Operations in White Marsh, Md., making the automaker the first U.S-based carmaker to build the key parts in America.
Until now, the key parts of electric vehicles have been manufactured outside of the US. And considering that GM has said electric vehicles are a key part of its future product strategy, the Baltimore plant could become the go-to facility for other EVs as well.
“The era of using electricity to help improve performance and fuel economy is already here and the trend is only going to grow,” said Mike Robinson, GM vice president of Sustainability, in an official press release statement.
The Spark EV features a permanent magnet electric motor that produce 130 hp (100 kW) and 400 lb-ft of torque with an acceleration of around 8 seconds from 0 to 60 mph. Sales for the mini EV will kick off in California and Oregon this summer.
After the U.S. roll-out, the car will be sold in Canada, Europe and South Korea, making the Baltimore plant a key part of GM’s global electric vehicle strategy.
“Electric motor development and manufacturing is a critical area of expertise GM has mastered as we grow our portfolio of electric vehicles to address the needs of our global customers.” said Larry Nitz, GM executive director of Vehicle Electrification Engineering, in a company statement.
To prepare for building the Chevrolet Spark EV, key workers at the Baltimore plant were brought into Detroit for extensive training on electric motors at a pilot facility in Wixom, MI. The training included learning the operation of the machines used to configure portions of the electric motor and drive units.
To date, the Baltimore plant has been building transmission for heavy duty pick-ups, workers.