GM Announces $100 Million for Self-Driving Car Production

Image: General Motors

President Trump has teased CAFE rollback with automakers in Michigan. GM announced $100 Million for self-driving vehicle model Cruise AV production.

According to Detroit News, when President Donald Trump met with 11 automakers and United Auto Workers President Dennis Williams for an industry round table in Michigan, he said General Motors should not be the only one creating auto manufacturing jobs in the state.

Trump talked about automakers building “new plants in Michigan and other states” and how it would bring “thousands of jobs.”

General Motors announced $100 million to be invested in two facilities to prepare for 2019 production of GM’s Cruise AV — the self-driving version of the Chevy Bolt electric car — at the Orion Township GM assembly plant and Brownstown Battery Assembly plant, which will make the roof modules for the self-driving cars.

Last year, GM announced 900 new jobs.

“That’s going to be peanuts to the numbers that we’re going to see in the near future,” Trump had said. He reportedly told automakers he would work with them on reducing regulations and taxes, but wants new auto manufacturing jobs created.

Federal & State Approvals Needed for Self-Driving Car Deployment

Earlier in the week, GM Chief Executive Officer Mary Barra met with Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao to discuss the company’s self-driving, ride-sharing fleet, according to Automotive News.

GM filed a petition for Federal approval for the Cruise AV’s fully autonomous features in January. The automaker asked the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for waivers covering 16 regulations the company says are unnecessary for driverless cars, such as those around steering wheels, brake pedals and accelerator pedals the Cruise AVs will lack. The agency has not yet released details of the proposal.

Once there is Federal approval, GM will then need to seek approval from individual states before deploying the self-driving Cruise AV.

Anticipated for production is actually fourth generation, according to Green Car Reports. It’s currently being tested in San Francisco by Cruise Automation, the self-driving vehicle software company GM bought in March 2016. Later this year, GM said it to test the Cruise AV in Phoenix and New York City.

Teasing Auto Emissions Standards Rollbacks

Trump also said in his meeting with the Detroit automakers that he had reopened a review of a fuel economy mandate to achieve the equivalent of 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025.

In a brief speech to bused-in Detroit autoworkers at Willow Run Airport, he said:

We want to be the car capital of the world again,” Trump said. “We will be, and it won’t be long, believe me. … We’re going to have a very big announcement next week having to do with your industry. Very, very big. Very important.”

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has an April 1st deadline to decide if the average fuel economy standards for cars and light trucks from 2022 to 2025 set in place during the previous administration are attainable.

“California is not the arbiter of these issues,” said Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt during an interview with Bloomberg.com last week.

He had attended the President’s Michigan announcement about the review:


Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette said, “The fact he’s going to have a rewrite of these job-crushing, paycheck-crushing emission rules that the Obama administration tried to do at the midnight hour … that’s a breath of fresh air for jobs and paychecks in Michigan.”

While the administration is teasing a rollback of the CAFE standards, Barra said at the CERAWeek energy conference in Houston on March 7th:

“Our commitment to an all-electric, zero-emissions future is unwavering, regardless of any modifications to future fuel economy standards.”

Editor’s Note: An earlier version of this story said that GM was also adding 900 jobs to the Michigan plants, but that was an announcement made in March of 2017. We regret the error.

About the author

Andrea Fox

Andrea Fox

Andrea Fox is Editor of EfficientGov.com and Senior Editor at Praetorian Digital. She is based in Massachusetts.