GM Building $224-Million Plant in MD for E-Car Motors

By the end of the year, motors for cutting-edge electric vehicles will be built in a huge $244-million plant under construction next to GM’s White Marsh, MD factory, now called General Motors Baltimore Operations, the Baltimore Sun reports.

About 189 workers will be hired to build the motors for a new generation of plug-in electric and hybrid vehicles, joining the 220 employees at the existing plant. The new plant’s first order of business will be building motors for the Chevrolet Spark, a five-door mini-car with a hatch that GM plans to roll out in 2013, according to a company spokeswoman.

On Wednesday, the automaker offered a look at the nearly completed 100,000-square-foot facility during a visit by U.S. Labor Secretary Hilda L. Solis, who was accompanied by Gov. Martin O’Malley, Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz and other local officials.

The GM plant, which will be the first electric motor production facility operated by a major U.S. automaker, provides a glimpse of the trend toward “in-sourcing” — returning jobs to the United States.

“We’re expanding beyond just transmissions,” plant manager William Tiger said. “We’ll be making drive units and we’ll be making electric motors, all of which will bring in jobs.”

GM, which is investing about $129 million, is building the new facility with a combination of subsidies from the federal, state and county governments, including $105 million from the U.S. Department of Energy, $6 million in grants from Baltimore County, and $4.5 million in state grants for economic development and job training.

“The Baltimore GM plant is a great example of in-sourcing,” Solis said. “These are new jobs here at home building a new technology we can export around the world.”