GM’s Orion Assembly manufacturing plant, where the Chevy Bolt is being put together, now ranks as the 8th largest user of “green power” generated onsite in the US — out of the Environmental Protection Agency’s network of “Green Power Partnership Partners.”
The Orion Assembly plant is currently home to a 350 kilowatt (kW) solar photovoltaic (PV) system and receives roughly half of its electricity through the use of methane collected from a nearby landfill.
The facility saves roughly $1 million a year on operating costs thanks to its use of renewables.
GM is currently pursuing a public goal of having 125 megawatts (MW) of renewable energy capacity by 2020 — a goal expected to be exceeded later this year.
“Building the Bolt EV in a facility that is 54% powered by clean energy further adds to the car’s environmental credentials,” stated Alicia Boler-Davis, GM vice president of global manufacturing. “It’s an example of how we live our global sustainable manufacturing commitment while improving our bottom line.”
“EPA applauds Orion Assembly for its innovation in generating green power from an onsite landfill gas energy system and for taking a leadership position on the environment,” stated James Critchfield, manager of the Green Power Partnership.
The Orion Assembly plant also makes use of an interesting “energy efficient” painting process — whereby a “three-wet process allows 3 layers of paint to be applied to the car followed by a single trip through the oven, saving energy, and space previously used by additional equipment.”
GM’s Fort Wayne Assembly plant in Indiana, responsible for the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra pickup trucks, also appeared on the EPA list, thanks to its use of methane collected from landfills.
While more could (and presumably will be) done to improve renewables use, the fact that the Bolt is put together at a relatively “green” plant is another plus for the all-electric model. Not quite at the level that Tesla’s operations will be at when the Model 3 launches, but still notable.