General Motors launches an all-electric Cadillac Lyriq at its Tennessee plant

The first all-electric Cadillac Lyriq rolled off the assembly line at General Motors Spring Hill, Tennessee. vehicle plant on Monday, marking a milestone as the Detroit-based automaker ramps up investment in the state.

“Today marks a new era for Cadillac as we drive the transition to an all-electric lineup for General Motors’ flagship brand,” GM President Mark Reuss said at the unveiling. “This vehicle is another step on the road to EV leadership for us.”

Production plant employees were present and cheered as the Cadillac rolled off the production line. Governor Bill Lee, Tennessee Economic and Community Development Commissioner Bob Rolfe, and U.S. Senator Bill Hagerty also attended the event.

Automakers are making big investments in Tennessee as the U.S. auto industry races toward an all-electric future.

Electric vehicles are surging in the South:How car sales, jobs and investment are driving momentum

The first all-electric Cadillac Lyriq rolls off the assembly line at the General Motors plant in Spring Hill, Tennessee, Monday, March 21, 2022.

GM announced a $2 billion investment in 2020 to revamp the Spring Hill plant, which will allow the plant to produce more electric vehicles like the Lyriq. The 7.9 million square foot plant – GM’s largest U.S. plant, according to the company – opened in 1990 and employed 3,252 workers as of June 2021.

GM and South Korean battery giant LG Energy Solutions announced a $2.3 billion investment in April 2021 to build an electric vehicle battery plant in Spring Hill.

Lee praised workers at the Spring Hill plant and said Tennessee’s workforce has been key in attracting big employers like General Motors.

“There’s a reason they (the automakers) stayed and kept investing,” Lee said. “It is thanks to the men and women who assemble these vehicles in this factory.”

GM aims to phase out gas-powered vehicles by 2040:Here’s what that means for the Spring Hill EV plant.

“I want to thank the leadership of General Motors, who has made a commitment to the state over and over again to make us the number one manufacturer of motor vehicles, and especially electric vehicles, in America,” Lee said.

Nissan, with North American headquarters in Franklin, has been producing Nissan LEAF electric sedans at its Smyrna plant since 2013.

Volkswagen announced an $800 investment to expand electric vehicle production capacity at its Chattanooga plant in 2019. The plant stopped building the gasoline-powered Passat model in 2021 to shift production to series electric vehicles ID and batteries.

Meanwhile, Ford is building Blue Oval City, a sprawling $5.6 billion industrial campus between Memphis and Jackson to produce batteries for electric vehicles and F-Series trucks.

Cadillac’s first electric vehicle

The first all-electric Cadillac Lyriq rolls off the assembly line at the General Motors plant in Spring Hill, Tennessee, Monday, March 21, 2022.

The Lyriq, announced in August 2020, is Cadillac’s first electric vehicle. The four-door, rear-drive crossover is powered by GM’s Ultium battery platform and is expected to have a range of over 300 miles on a full charge. The vehicle starts at $59,990 for the base model, and dealers will accept orders starting May 19.

GM has set a goal to stop producing conventional gas-powered vehicles and bring 30 new electric vehicle models to market by 2035. The Cadillac brand has set a more ambitious goal, aiming to go all-electric d 2030.

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U.S. Representative Scott DesJarlais spoke at the event, referencing Johnny Cash’s 1976 novella, “One Piece at a Time.” The song tells the story of an automobile factory worker who steals Cadillac components from the line over the course of 20 years and assembles them into a confusing hot-rod.

“It’s hard to think of the Cadillac manufacturing plant without thinking of how the Cadillac brand has been immortalized in country music,” DesJarlais said. “It took (Cash) 20 years to carry a Cadillac one piece at a time in his lunchbox. I don’t know if anyone here has figured that out yet, but I don’t think Mr. Cash could have get a 1,000-beat battery in his lunchbox.”

Cole Villena covers Williamson County at The Tennessean, part of the USA Today – Tennessee Network. Contact Cole at [email protected] or 615-925-0493. Follow Cole on Twitter at @ColeVillena and on Instagram at @CVinTennessee.

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