As tens of thousands of United Auto Workers members went on strike Monday morning, details emerged about General Motors' offer to the plant workers for electrified vehicles.
Included in the proposed offer from GM to the UAW, the automaker listed an electric pickup, a dedicated battery facility in the U.S., and additional propulsion programs that may include electrified powertrains.
A spokesman for GM did not immediately comment on the direct role of electric vehicles in negotiations, but GM issued a brief statement Monday afternoon: “Negotiations have resumed. Our goal remains to reach an agreement that builds a strong future for our employees and our business.”
Cadillac electric crossover SUV based on GM BEV3 modular platform
In June, GM President Mark Reuss confirmed the automaker was working on an electric pickup and that it would be based on GM's BEV3 platform that may eventually underpin an electric Cadillac SUV around 2023.
"We will have a complete electric lineup, including a pickup truck that’s in development,” he said in June, according to a report in WardsAuto.
That would keep GM competitive among the slew of EV truckmakers eager to bring the popular body style to market with an electrified powertrain early in the next decade. Crosstown rival Ford and EV startup Rivian have announced separately that they would build electric pickups to sell around 2021—the two will even partner on an upcoming electric SUV, to arrive a year or two after that.
Before Ford's investment of hundreds of millions into Rivian earlier this year, rumors in the media swirled that GM was courting Rivian for a similar tie-up, but talks reportedly fell apart shortly before the Ford deal was announced.
Final Chevrolet Cruze built at GM Lordstown plant
Less clear are GM's intentions for a union-represented battery facility in North America. In a statement Monday, GM said that it had "solutions for unallocated assembly plants in Michigan and Ohio," which may include the Lordstown, Ohio factory that assembled the Chevy Cruze that was shuttered in March, and Detroit-Hamtramck, where the discontinued Chevrolet Volt was assembled. Those plants could be converted into battery facilities, although it's unclear if that was offered to the UAW.
Last month, GM won a grant from federal officials to develop solid-state battery technology for future electrified powertrains, including truck-based applications. GM's lone electric vehicle on sale in the U.S. is the Bolt EV, which uses battery cells supplied by LG Chem that were jointly developed by GM. In July, LG Chem announced it would consider building a second factory in the U.S., in addition to its facility in Holland, Michigan, that supplies GM with Bolt EV batteries. The plant employs roughly 900 workers. GM assembled lithium-ion battery packs at its Brownstown, Michigan, plant, but laid off about 50 workers at that plant in December.
GM's offer for additional propulsion programs at UAW plants may include hybrid or electric powertrains, although the company hasn't specified either, and a spokesman for GM didn't immediately comment.