Brouillette heads to GM on first trip to Michigan as energy secretary

Melissa Nann Burke
The Detroit News

Secretary of Energy Dan Brouillette is making his first trip to Michigan on Thursday while at the helm of the U.S. Department of Energy.

Brouillette, a former Ford Motor Co. executive, is headed to General Motors Co. to check out the automaker's electric vehicles including the highly anticipated 2022 GMC Hummer electric vehicle. The Hummer was scheduled to be revealed two months ago in May but was delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

Brouillette will visit GM's Technical Center campus in Warren to tour of the Estes Battery Lab and then the design dome for a viewing of future electric vehicles, officials said. 

Dan Brouillette

"We are excited to welcome Secretary Brouillette to battery lab and design studio and look forward to the opportunity demonstrate our commitment to an all-electric future," GM spokeswoman Jeannine Ginivan said. 

Brouillette is making the trip to highlight his department's commitment to advancing U.S. manufacturing and battery storage technology, department officials said Monday. 

He plans to discuss how his agency is pursuing and investing millions in research and development focused on electric vehicles and batter storage innovations, as well as hydrogen-powered fuel cells for a variety of uses including vehicles. 

Brouillette has served as energy secretary under President Donald Trump since December. He succeeded former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, under whom he served as deputy.

Brouillette, 57, previously worked as an executive at USAA, as an assistant energy secretary under President George W. Bush, and as a vice president at Ford Motor Co. from 2004 to 2006, based in Washington. 

At Ford, Brouillette led the company's domestic policy teams and was a member of the North American Operating Committee, working on advanced technologies like hybrid cars and autonomous vehicles.

He is from San Antonio but likes to vacation in Grand Rapids and has a weakness for burgers from Miller's Bar in Dearborn, according to his office. One of his hobbies is restoring classic cars — he can break down a car to parts and put it back together, an aide said.

Despite the pandemic pulling back profits, GM still plans to spend $20 billion on its electric and autonomous vehicle development through 2025. The Detroit automaker is pushing for 20 electric-vehicle models by 2023, including the all-new GMC Hummer EV that will be built at its Detroit-Hamtramck plant starting in late 2021.  

Among the future EVs that Brouillette might get to view Thursday are the Cadillac Celestiq, a new hand-built all-electric luxury sedan; the Cadillac Lyriq, a crossover debuting in April; the 2020 Bolt and the new Bolt EUV, a larger version of the Bolt; pickup truck and SUV versions of the Hummer EV; the Cruise Origin, an autonomous shuttle; as well as an unnamed Chevrolet, Cadillac and two Buick SUVs.

These models were showcased at GM's EV Day in March before the coronavirus shut down much of the U.S. economy.

Staff writer Kalea Hall contributed