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General Motors Takes Us Inside Their Factory Zero, Here's How Things Work

General Motors (GM) decided to give us all a look inside their Factory Zero facility. EVP Gerald Johnson shares with the world what’s going on behind closed doors. It looks like the zero-emission future is not going to stop legacy American automakers from making a big splash.
GM Factory Zero Tour 6 photos
GM Operator Working on a GMC Hummer EVGM's Factory ZeroGM's Factory ZeroGM's Factory ZeroGM's Factory Zero Operators
Gerald Johnson is GM’s Executive Vice President of Global Manufacturing and Sustainability. He leads a tour of the Factory Zero where we can see how the employees are doing their jobs and what progress has been made after hefty investment in the plant.

Factory Zero is incredibly important for GM’s efforts. It was completely revamped in 2020. The manufacturer is trying to keep up with Tesla and Ford. This takes a lot of careful planning and due diligence. Furthermore, they had to change all the equipment and bring in properly trained workers. Looking at the footage, we might be inclined to say they’re on the right path.

Unfortunately, the current market conditions and international geopolitical context still paint a grim picture for those that rely on global supply chains. Still, this doesn’t mean GM doesn’t stand a chance. The Hummer EV pickup truck is quite popular, and that may be the first good sign for the company that wants to eventually champion the transition from burning fossil fuels to consuming electricity and leaving no trails of smoke behind.

Johnson is joined by Assistant Plant Director Cathy Staelgraeve in showing what’s going on inside the factory. She says that GM continues the hiring process because they need to have around 1,900 employees until the end of 2022.

The two start the tour of the plant by first showing how a new scanning system allows them to shorten the time needed to establish the right coordinates for the machines that help humans build the all-electric vehicles. In the past, it used to take six hours, but now it has been reduced to just two.

Next, you’ll be able to see how a Ultium battery (RESS unit) is joined to the vehicle. Here Staelgraeve promises that GM will start assembling battery packs at the Factory Zero by the end of the current year. This would effectively shrink the carbon footprint associated with building an EV.

The next part of the tour continues with the alignment and audio system test, and then they go to the last phase of the process that we’re allowed to see – the dynamic testing. Here the EVP meets with one of the operators responsible for vehicles leaving the factory floor in mint condition. He has been with the company for more than 48 years. This is a good sign. It means that people have the chance to grow and learn during the time they’re spending with the manufacturer.

General Motors currently manufactures the 2024 GMC Hummer EV at the Factory Zero in the Hamtramck Assembly Center, Detroit. But soon enough they’ll begin the production for the Chevrolet Silverado EV, the GMC Hummer EV SUV, and the Cruise Origin. The latter is an urban vehicle that comes with self-driving capabilities. It’s meant mainly for ridesharing companies.

Now watch the heavily edited tour of the factory. It does look like an episode of a TV show, so enjoy it as a temporary break from your daily duties. There’s still enough good information to be absorbed.


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