The first all-electric Cadillac Lyriq rolled off the assembly line at the General Motors Spring Hill, Tennessee, vehicle plant Monday, marking an important milestone as the Detroit-based automaker ramps up investment in the state.
“Today marks a new era for Cadillac, because we flip the switch on the transition to a fully-electric lineup for the flagship brand of General Motors,” GM president Mark Reuss said at the unveiling. “This vehicle is another step on the path to EV leadership for us.”
Employees from the production facility were present and cheered as the Cadillac rolled off the line. Gov. Bill Lee, Tennessee Economic and Community Development commissioner Bob Rolfe and U.S. Sen. Bill Hagerty also attended the event.
Automakers are making big investments in Tennessee as the American auto industry races toward an all-electric future.
Electric vehicles surging in the South: How car sales, jobs, investments are driving momentum
GM announced a $2 billion investment in 2020 to renovate the Spring Hill plant, which will allow the facility to produce more electric vehicles like the Lyriq. The 7.9 million-square foot plant — GM’s largest American facility, according to the company — opened in 1990 and employed 3,252 workers in 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 the Spring Hill plant workers and said Tennessee’s workforce has been key in attracting major employers such as General Motors.
“There’s a reason that they (automakers) have stayed and continued to invest,” Lee said. “It’s because of the men and women who are putting those vehicles together in this plant.”
GM aims to eliminate gas vehicles by 2040: Here’s what it means for Spring Hill’s electric vehicle plant.
“I want to thank the leadership of General Motors, who have made commitments time and time again to the state to make us the leading manufacturer of motor vehicles, and especially electric vehicles, in America,” Lee said.
Nissan, which has its North American headquarters in Franklin, has produced electric Nissan LEAF hatchbacks at its Smyrna plant since 2013.
Volkswagen announced an $800 million investment to expand electric vehicle production capability at its Chattanooga plant in 2019. The plant stopped building the gas-powered Passat model in 2021 to shift production to electric ID-series vehicles and battery packs.
Ford, meanwhile, is building Blue Oval City, a $5.6 billion sprawling industrial campus between Memphis and Jackson to produce electric vehicle batteries and F-series trucks.
Cadillac’s first electric vehicle
The Lyriq, announced in August 2020, is Cadillac’s first electric vehicle. The four-door, rear-wheel drive crossover is powered by GM’s Ultium Battery Platform and is projected to have a driving range of more than 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 set a goal to stop producing conventional gas-powered vehicles and bring 30 new EV models to market by 2035. The Cadillac brand set a more aggressive target, aiming to go all-electric by 2030.
Cadillac Lyriq: Early 2023 Cadillac Lyriqs are lurking around metro Detroit
U.S. Rep. Scott DesJarlais spoke at the event, referencing Johnny Cash’s 1976 novelty hit “One Piece at a Time.” The song tells the story of an automotive plant worker who steals Cadillac components from the line over the course of 20 years and assembles them into a jumbled hot-rod.
“It’s hard to think about Cadillac manufacturing plant without thinking about how the Cadillac brand has been immortalized in country music,” DesJarlais said. “It took (Cash) 20 years to carry a Cadillac out one piece at a time in his lunchbox. I don’t know if anyone here has figured it out yet, but I don’t think Mr. Cash could have gotten a 1,000-pound battery out in his lunchbox.”
Cole Villena covers Williamson County at The Tennessean, part of the USA Today Network — Tennessee. Reach Cole at [email protected] or 615-925-0493. Follow Cole on Twitter at @ColeVillena and on Instagram at @CVinTennessee.
This article originally appeared on Nashville Tennessean: GM launches all-electric Cadillac Lyriq at Tennessee plant