WHITE MARSH, Md. – Until now, electric motors and drive units – the heart and soul of electric vehicles – have been mostly imports. General Motors today commemorated becoming the first U.S.-based automaker to manufacture these key parts in America for the new Chevrolet Spark EV at its Baltimore Operations plant in White Marsh, Md.
“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. “Today is further proof GM is leading in the development of electric vehicles that will improve America’s energy security.”
GM engineers designed and developed the Spark EV’s motor and drive unit to provide maximum efficiency and power with world-class reliability. The permanent magnet motor features a unique design to provide precise delivery of power. The Spark EV electric motor will produce 130 hp (100 kW) and 400 lb-ft of torque to deliver acceleration of less than 8 seconds from 0 to 60 mph. The Spark EV will be sold in California and Oregon this summer and sales will expand to Canada, Europe and South Korea later.
“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.
After refining its expertise in electric motors at a pilot facility in Wixom, Mich., production of electric motors began at White Marsh. Workers at the Baltimore plant completed extensive training on the operation of the sophisticated machines used to configure portions of the electric motor and drive units.
“In Maryland, innovation is something we do well and with our world class work force, we’re in a position to grow Maryland’s Innovation Economy so we can create even more jobs for our hardworking families,” said Gov. Martin O’Malley. “Thanks to the leaders at General Motors, the first electric motors and drive units will be manufactured right here in Maryland. Together, with companies like General Motors leading the way, we must make the better choices to invest in a stronger future: more job creation, more opportunity, and a stronger, growing middle class.”
Conventionally powered vehicles on the road today have a variety of electric motors to power seats, windows, windshield washers and other functions. Electric motors are used in hybrid and electric vehicles to propel the vehicle. Electricity is stored in a battery and feeds power to the electric motor to drive the wheels.
“The motor design was created by American engineers and it’s being manufactured and assembled by American workers,” said plant manager Bill Tiger. “By designing electric motors in Michigan and manufacturing them at Baltimore Operations, GM controls the design, materials and production processes, as well as reducing costs and improving performance, quality, reliability and manufacturability.”
About General Motors Baltimore Operations Highly Green and environmentally friendly, the Baltimore facility is GM’s exclusive manufacturer of A1000 transmissions for heavy duty pickup trucks and electric motors and drivetrains for the Chevrolet Spark EV. They have been landfill free since 2007, recycling 100% of their waste. They had a 1.2 MW roof mounted solar array installed in May 2011 and received certification for their Wildlife Habitat in June 2011. A new facility has been built on the campus to house manufacturing for eMotor production. This business was brought back from Mexico to the U.S.
About General Motors General Motors Co. (NYSE:GM, TSX: GMM) and its partners produce vehicles in 30 countries, and the company has leadership positions in the world’s largest and fastest-growing automotive markets. GM, its subsidiaries and joint venture entities sell vehicles under the Chevrolet, Cadillac, Baojun, Buick, GMC, Holden, Isuzu, Jiefang, Opel, Vauxhall and Wuling brands. More information on the company and its subsidiaries, including OnStar, a global leader in vehicle safety, security and information services, can be found at http://www.gm.com.