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GM President Mark Reuss Photo: Michael Wayland, CNBC
General Motors announced big plans to invest $2.2 Billion in a plant in Detroit in a plant that will build only electric vehicles including the company’s first all-electric pickup truck and the first of multiple electric truck models (reportedly including a Hummer) and an autonomous vehicle they will build the plant in the coming years. The company is renovating an existing plant that currently builds the Cadillacs and the Chevrolet Impala and employs approximately 900 people.
Why This Matters: They are not wasting any time — GM’s first all-electric pickup is expected to begin in late 2021. This is great news, especially after the company seemed to be going in the opposite direction late last year when it announced it was increasing the size of its current big selling Chevy Tahoe, as we reported last December. It is a big step forward in making an all-electric GM fleet a reality. The new plant will create more than 2,200 good-paying manufacturing jobs once it’s fully operational, which is great news. This could be America’s economic and clean air future — if only we would go for it. And to bring back the Hummer as an EV is probably the biggest remake the auto industry has ever seen.
GM’s Plans — Reviving the Hummer
GM announced last week that it would soon produce an autonomous vehicle called the Cruise Origin. Cruise autonomous vehicle unit unveiled last week in San Francisco will follow “soon” after. But the most surprising announcement that is expected soon is that the gas-guzzling Hummer is ready for a comeback — it had been one of the models that the company banked on twenty years ago. GM stopped making the Hummer in 2010 when gas prices were rising and the company had to slim down costs and models as part of the government’s bailout of the company — the environmental community criticized the Hummerbecause of its abysmal gas mileage — it only got 10 miles to the gallon. ABC News reports that the new electric Hummer will be officially announced in a Super Bowl ad that also stars LeBron James of the Los Angeles Lakers, citing the Wall Street Journal, that was basing its report on unnamed sources. It is probably a good bet to quell the critics and appeal to truck owners in the U.S. — currently, 70% of all new vehicles sold in the U.S. are trucks and SUVs.
President Trump trumpeted his trade deal with China, but so far it has been a bust, according to The Wall Street Journal — the Chinese have not purchased nearly the amount of energy (in terms of total dollars) as they promised — only $2B in oil and gas purchases against a commitment of $25B for this year.
A federal judge in Washington, DC ruled yesterday that the Dakota Access Pipeline must shut down and empty all its oil until the government completes an environmental review of the pipeline’s impacts, giving the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, whose reservation lies downstream, a huge victory. Similarly, late in the day, the Supreme Court refused to overturn the order of a district judge that shut down construction of parts of the Keystone XL pipeline so it is also blocked for now.
Why It Matters: The Dakota and Keystone XL news is greatly tempered by the fact that numerous other pipeline projects can go ahead despite their inadequate permit unless they are individually challenged in court and blocked.
Yesterday, Dominion Energy and its partner, Duke Energy, announced they were ending a 600-mile natural gas project that would have cost at least $8 billion to complete. As the Richmond Times-Dispatch wrote, Dominion and Duke canceled the construction of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline in the face of mounting regulatory uncertainty caused by a federal court […]
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