Cruise, the self-driving subsidiary of GM, has tapped a $5 billion line of credit from the automaker’s financial arm to pay for hundreds of purpose-built electric and autonomous Origin vehicles as they start to roll off the assembly line.
The access to the credit provided by GM Financial will push Cruise’s “total war chest” to more than $10 billion as it prepares for commercialization, CEO Dan Ammann wrote in a blog post Tuesday.
Preproduction of the Cruise Origin, which was first unveiled in January 2020, has started at GM’s Factory ZERO assembly plant. Factory ZERO is the renamed and renovated Detroit-Hamtramck assembly plant. Last year, GM announced plans to invest $2.2 billion into the factory to produce all-electric trucks and SUVs as well as Cruise Origin. The automaker said at the time it will invest an additional $800 million in supplier tooling and other projects related to the launch of the new electric trucks. Detroit-Hamtramck will be GM’s first fully dedicated electric vehicle assembly plant. When fully operational, the plant will create more than 2,200 jobs, according to GM.
The Origin, the product of a multiyear collaboration with parent company GM and investor Honda, is designed for a ridesharing service. The shuttle-like vehicle has no steering wheel or pedals and is designed to travel at highway speeds. The interior is roomy, with seats that face each other, similar to what a traveler might find on some trains.
The first run of 100 preproduction Cruise Origins will be assembled over the summer and tested at GM’s Milford proving grounds. Commercial production of the Cruise Origin is expected to begin in 2023.