New GM Defense Facility Brings Innovation to Greater Charlotte

Thursday, May 20, 2021

At the invitation of W.S. Lee College of Engineering Advisory Board member Pam Fletcher, Vice President of Global Innovation at General Motors, Dean Rob Keynton got the chance to drive the Army’s new Infantry Squad Vehicle (ISV) at the opening ceremony and tour of the new GM Defense facility in Concord, NC, on May 4th. GM Defense’s new facility is a great addition to the Charlotte area, and UNC Charlotte and the College of Engineering are looking forward to the potential of future collaborative opportunities with the GM facility.

“I am a big supporter of North Carolina, so I couldn’t be more excited about GM Defense’s new facility in the greater Charlotte area,” said Fletcher. “There is a lot of terrific innovation to come from GM Defense, and I believe it can bring many benefits and opportunities to the nearby communities, including students.”

The tour of the new GM Defense production facility was very impressive, Dean Keynton said. “It was an honor to be involved in the opening ceremonies of this amazing facility,” he said. “It was also a whole lot of fun driving the ISV on the off-road obstacle course at the facility. Having GM Defense bring this state-of-the-art ‘craft’ manufacturing facility to our area is a real economic benefit to the Charlotte region.”

UNC Charlotte is looking forward to a collaborative relationship with the GM facility, including potential involvement with the College of Engineering’s Motorsports and Automotive Engineering, Precision Engineering and Veterans programs, Dean Keynton said. “The facility could also provide valuable opportunities to engage our students and faculty in hands-on learning experiences and collaborative research with the professionals at GM Defense,” he added. “These opportunities may include experiential learning programs such as internships and Senior Design projects.”

The new GM Defense production facility will be home to the Infantry Squad Vehicle (ISV), a nine-passenger expeditionary light tactical vehicle meant for transporting soldiers throughout the battlefield. Designed to provide rapid ground mobility, the ISV is light enough to be sling loaded from a UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter and compact enough to fit inside a CH-47 Chinook helicopter for air transportability. GM Defense’s solution to the Army’s next-generation transportation needs is based off the award-winning 2020 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 midsize truck architecture and leverages 90 percent commercial off-the-shelf parts. The new production facility is outfitted with advanced manufacturing tools that will drive efficiencies in low volume production.