Fiat Chrysler isn’t just building electrified Jeeps to promote an efficient and sustainable future for the vehicles, it’s also building them in a state-of-the-art facility that will promote efficient and sustainable manufacturing operations.
“Following numerous public and private discussions with residents, especially those nearest the facility, we’re proud to share our environmental plans and the future of FCA manufacturing in Detroit,” said Mark Stewart, Chief Operating Officer, FCA - North America. “We’re honored the residents of the city support us, and know that every step of the way, we need to prove that we follow through on our commitments and will be good neighbors long into our collective future.”
The new facility (a $1.6-billion investment to convert the two Mack Engine facilities in East Detroit) will boast the lowest VOC emissions in the US and add 4,950 jobs to the region. It will also have more than 30 EV charging stations, industry-leading water processing and recycling systems, LED lighting inside and outside the buildings, zero waste-to-landfill, and the material handling fleet will use hydrogen fuel cells.
The facility has been allocated production of the new large, 3-row Jeep, the new-generation Jeep Grand Cherokee and the electrified versions of the two. Production line roll-offs are expected by the end of 2020.
The company also plans a series of environmental initiatives over the coming three years, including planting more than 1,000 trees on the property and immediate neighbourhood, building a stormwater park (with a walking path, native vegetation, pollinator gardens and an educational pavilion) to control runoff, work with community organizations to turn dilapidated lots into green space, and host programs with local schools to build awareness and educate youth on environmental stewardship.
Other initiatives include solar-powered bus-stop shelters with mobile device charge points, hosting events to promote the benefits of stormwater capture through rain barrels (provided to interested residents), and work with the Wildlife Habitat Council on projects dealing with urban diversity, pollinator habitats and conservation.
“Our commitment to this city goes well beyond our facility,” said Stewart. “Our future lies in the hearts and minds of the young people who grow and thrive in Detroit. Supporting their growth is especially important to me, which is why we will also be partnering with other local organizations to further enhance the neighborhood.”
FCA had earlier in the year finalized a Community Benefits Agreement with the city of Detroit, committing more than $35 million US in support of neighbourhood improvements around the Mack plant, housing, workforce development, education and training programs, and environmental initiatives. The agreement also included $1.8 million to help owners on the city’s east side to invest in and repair their homes.