General Motors announced it is manufacturing the key parts of the new Chevrolet Spark EV – electric motor and drive units – at its Baltimore Operations plant in White Marsh, Md. Until now, electric motors and drive units have been mostly imports.

GM engineers designed and developed the Spark EV’s motor and drive unit to provide maximum efficiency and power with world-class reliability. The Spark EV electric motor will produce 130 hp (100 kW) and 400 lb.-ft. of torque to deliver acceleration of less than 8 seconds from 0 to 60 mph. It will be sold in California and Oregon this summer and sales will expand to Canada, Europe, and South Korea later, according to the automaker.

“Electric motor development and manufacturing is a critical area of expertise GM has mastered as we grow our portfolio of electric vehicles to address the needs of our global customers,” said Larry Nitz, GM executive director of vehicle electrification engineering.

After refining its expertise in electric motors at a pilot facility in Wixom, Mich., production of electric motors began at White Marsh. Workers at the Baltimore plant completed extensive training on the operation of the sophisticated machines used to configure portions of the electric motor and drive units.  

Conventionally powered vehicles on the road today have a variety of electric motors to power seats, windows, windshield washers, and other functions. Electric motors are used in hybrid and electric vehicles to propel the vehicle. Electricity is stored in a battery and feeds power to the electric motor to drive the wheels. 

 “The motor design was created by American engineers and it’s being manufactured and assembled by American workers,” said plant manager Bill Tiger. “By designing electric motors in Michigan and manufacturing them at Baltimore Operations, GM controls the design, materials and production processes, as well as reducing costs and improving performance, quality, reliability, and manufacturability.”