In a sign of the changing times the factory for one of the most notorious gas-guzzling vehicles of all time, the Hummer, will be getting a revival as an electric vehicle factory.
SF Motors, a division of Chinese manufacturer Chongqing Sokon Industry Group, has purchased the Hummer factory in South Bend, Indiana from AM General, and will be paying $110 million to produce “intelligent electric vehicles”, and spend another $30 million to retrofit the 700,000-square-foot commercial plant.
SF Motors has not divulged many details regarding their plans for the factory, but executives did say the deal will preserve about 430 US auto worker jobs. The company has reportedly hired several former engineers who worked at Tesla to head their new production efforts, with original Tesla CEO Martin Eberhard reportedly functioning as a consultant for SF Motors.
The deal with AM General comes as the sales of electric vehicles are beginning to take in the US and around the world. Last year saw around 2 million plug-in hybrids and battery-powered vehicles on the roads, which is an impressive 60% boost from the numbers of 2015.
The 2 million vehicles may only represent 0.2 percent of all light-duty vehicles in the world, but the International Energy Agency expects those numbers to keep climbing as battery prices drop and governments around the world switch to environmentally friendly policies. Transportation overall accounts for about one-fifth of total greenhouse gas emissions, coming mainly from the combustion of petroleum-based fuels.
AM General originally commissioned the plant in South Bend to produce the Hummer H2, a civilian variant of the military Humvee (High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle) which was sold by General Motors. Hummer H2s were produced there until 2009.