Ohio Senators Want to Know GM’s EV Plans, Demand American Production

Two senators in Ohio, home to the unfortunate Lordstown Assembly plant, want answers from General Motors. Following the automaker’s announcement that it will withdraw the plant’s sole product — the Chevrolet Cruze — in March of 2019, leaving the factory’s remaining 1,500 workers out of a job, politicians on both sides of the border want to know what GM’s plans for electric and autonomous mobility mean for their constituents.

If GM’s truly planning on springing a wave of electric vehicles on American buyers, Congress wants assurances that American workers will build them.

The two senators, Republican Rob Portman and Democrat Sherrod Brown, made their wishes clear in a letter to GM, demanding to hear back no later than December 21st, Automotive News reports.

One of the vehicles culled by GM’s restructuring plan is the Chevy Volt, built at Detroit-Hamtramck, alongside the equally doomed Cadillac CT6, Buick LaCrosse, and Chevrolet Impala. The Volt is a symbolic car. As the nation’s first “range-extended electric vehicle,” it served as the technologically advanced face of the post-bankruptcy GM and proof that the nation’s oft-derided auto industry could crank out something capable of trouncing the latest from Europe and Japan.

And yet buyers aren’t all that hot for it. Certainly, GM isn’t, either. This means the Orion Assembly-built Chevy Bolt will soon be the automaker’s only EV, and only plug-in vehicle of any kind. Portman and Brown’s letter demands to know GM’s plans for the electric vehicles it claims are in development. Will they be SUVs and crossovers? Where will they be built? The senators want GM to promise that U.S. workers, not Mexican or Korean ones, will assemble those clean and green products.

There’s quite a bit of fact-finding in the letter. The duo also requested that GM provide estimates on the number of supplier jobs that would be lost if Lordstown closes for good. Last week, GM CEO Mary Barra said Lordstown’s fate would be decided during 2019 UAW contract talks, adding that she’s keeping an “open mind” about it.

That said, the plant’s future isn’t looking good. GM officials have told Congress that prepping Lordstown to handle a new vehicle, presumably an electric one, would take one to two years, with other officials stating that this isn’t likely to happen.

a version of this article first appeared on TTAC

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