General Motors claims its so-called Factory Zero, the Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly Center, now the company’s all-electric vehicle assembly plant, is the first automotive factory in the US to install dedicated 5G fixed mobile network technology.

Verizon’s 5G ultra wideband service is now operating there with exponential increases in both bandwidth and speed supporting the ongoing transformation of the plant as it prepares to begin producing EVs in 2021.

Verizon Business said GM was one of its first enterprise customers to use the 5G service which has has considerably faster download speeds and greater bandwidth than 4G networks.

Factory Zero is being completely retooled with a $2.2 billion investment, the largest ever for a GM manufacturing facility. Once fully operational, the plant will create more than 2,200 jobs.

“Factory Zero will be GM’s flagship assembly plant in our journey to an all-electric future,” said Phil Kienle, GM vice president of North America manufacturing and labour relations. “Installing 5G is an essential step in the transformation of this plant and signals how important advanced manufacturing is in the ongoing race to an EV future.”

Today, the Internet of Things is transforming manufacturing plants, enabling connected devices to deliver important benefits to quality and safety.

Countless systems and equipment rely on connectivity, such as robotics, sensors and the automated guided vehicles which deliver materials across the factory floor.

“Our workers rely on fast and reliable communication and need to trust their tools, including digital tools,” Kienle said. “Factory Zero is an ideal place for this kind of innovation, as it’s being transformed to become our most advanced assembly plant.”

GM’s information technology team worked with Verizon Business to take advantage of the benefits of 5G technology.

“Factory Zero’s new 5G connection will transmit critical application data securely and quickly for our manufacturing team,” said Randy Mott, GM executive vice president and chief information officer. “This is another example of cutting-edge use of technology improving quality and speed.”

Key benefits of 5G in a manufacturing plant include reliability, speed and sheer scale. 5G’s massive bandwidth offers scalability to manage thousands of devices across the factory’s 4m square feet of space, with ample capacity to support emerging technologies.

Both the upcoming GMC Hummer EV and the Cruise Origin will be built at the factory on GM’s Ultium battery platform.