Our nation's military takes priority over Covid-19.
As automakers have either shut down their production plants or are in the process of converting them to accommodate building desperately needed ventilators in the midst of the coronavirus, at least one GM factory is both staying open and manufacturing its regular product.
GM's Duramax plant in Moraine, Ohio remains open for business to keep producing Banks D866T 6.6-liter diesel engines. These are the defense-spec engines that power the US military's Oshkosh Joint Light Tactical Vehicles (JLTV), which are in the process of replacing the decades-old Hummer vehicles.
The plant was originally shut down but GM reversed its decision following a request from Banks Technologies, the company that manufactures the engines. The decision gets people working again at the Ohio plant as well as at the second facility in Azusa, California.
"GM's dedication to the Oshkosh Joint Light Tactical Vehicle production and America's safety could not be demonstrated or validated at a higher level than this," says Gale Banks, Chief Engineer at Banks Power. "In an act of unparalleled patriotism, and with health and safety in mind, employees from both DMAX and Banks are proudly stepping up to support our national security in a time of crisis. This is a truly American story."
However, other sections of the Moraine, Ohio plant will remain closed until at least April 30, the date the Center for Disease Control issued for non-essential companies to furlough their operations.
The Ohio plant initially shut down on March 20 because of the ongoing spread of Covid-19. Banks must have made the necessary changes on the production line to ensure social distancing as well as proper disinfecting methods. This military-spec Duramax engine is similar to the 6.6-liter Duramax turbo-diesel V8 found in civilian trucks like the Chevy Silverado 2500 HD, where it offers 445 horsepower and 910 lb-ft of torque.
Unfortunately, the exact differences between the military and civilians engines are top secret.