Besides the nearby location of one of its major U.S. Army customers (TACOM Life Cycle Management Command in Warren), Southeast Michigan has proved to be a good location for mc2.
“Where we are geographically and with the products that we make, there is a lot of synergy and opportunity to collaborate with automotive original equipment manufacturers and the automotive supply chain,” says Sonya Sepahban, senior vice president of engineering, development and technology at General Dynamics Land Systems.
“To that end, we are working with automakers on some projects, and we are also looking for dual-use technologies. The collaborative process in mc2 presents a win-win situation,” she says. Electric hybrid vehicle technology is an example. “We’ve been in that technology for a long time, and it’s not so much a technical challenge as it is an economic challenge. Just as higher price is an issue for consumers with electric vehicles, we are also trying to make it as cost-neutral as possible for our customers when the mission profile requires it or would derive a benefit from an alternative to the traditionally fueled engine.”
One way is to work with suppliers who are making components for commercial large trucks or agricultural equipment, and which could potentially be shared by military vehicles. “By co-investing and collaborating with these suppliers we’re hoping that the price point will be driven down. We’re very excited about that,” she says. Likewise, mc2 has approached traditional automotive suppliers with an eye toward collaborating on battery technology for electric vehicles. “We want to see where we can find these synergies,” Sepahban says.
Today, GD expands beyond metropolitan Detroit. Of its 2,600 or so engineers, several hundred are in Canada, and some are posted in the United Kingdom or other parts of the world where its vehicles are deployed. Still, Sepahban says, the Great Lakes state is home. “Certainly, having our headquarters here does have its benefits, and we are a very proud Michigan company.”