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GM converts CAMI plant in Ingersoll, Ont., to make electric delivery vans

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A General Motors plant in Ingersoll, Ontario, was converted into an assembly line for electric delivery vans, making it Canada’s first full-scale electric vehicle manufacturing facility.

The first BrightDrop Zevo 600 lined off at the CAMI factory on Monday, reopening the facility after it was temporarily shut down in May. This is to transform from making internal combustion engines to making electric vehicles.

GM Canada President Marissa West said in an interview with CBC News, “We’re committed to an all-electric future. We’ve seen tremendous demand from our customers.”

Representatives of the state and federal governments, which each invested $259 million to help the automaker upgrade its facilities, were present at a media event marking the opening.Ingersoll and Oshawa, Ontario GM’s upgrades to state facilities totaled $2 billion. GM used to say.

BrightDrop is a division of GM focused on building delivery vehicles for commercial customers, not for passengers. Prior to the CAMI upgrade, GM was manufacturing his BrightDrop vans on a very limited basis at another facility in Michigan.

Similarly, other electric vehicles are also made in Canada on a limited basis, but none of the scale GM planned for the BrightDrop launch.

Expectations for an electric future

After decades as a key hub for the North American auto industry, Canada’s position as an auto-manufacturing powerhouse has declined in recent years as major auto companies slowly curtailed production at their facilities scattered across southern Ontario. I’m here.

But the final round of union talks in late 2020 has revealed that both sides believe electric vehicles are the future of the industry, and Monday’s announcement marks the first in a long line-up of Canadian-made EVs. is likely to become

“We truly believe we are at an inflection point where EVs are becoming more mainstream.

growing market

Although currently a niche, electric vehicles are taking up more and more space on Canadian roads. Up to 5% of all vehicles in Canada are fully electric or hybrid, and that proportion is expected to increase over the next few years.

Monday’s announcement brings it one step closer to the government’s claim that all new Canadian cars will be electric by 2035, an ambitious goal more than a dozen years from now.

See | GM Canada says why the future is electric.

GM Canada President Discusses Future of Canadian Auto Manufacturing

Canada’s first electric vehicle assembly line is in operation in Ingersoll, Ontario. CBC’s Nisha Patel sat down with her Marissa West, president of GM Canada, to find out what this transformation means for the Canadian auto industry.

According to West, GM is operating on a similar timeline around the world, with the company forecasting that by 2035, the world’s vehicles will be emissions-free.

Jacquie Richards, the facility’s quality launch manager, says the future is now when it comes to electric vehicles.

The vehicle itself, the BrightDrop Zevo 600, is primarily used by commercial customers such as FedEx, Walmart, DHL and Verizon.

“I’m excited to see this vehicle we’re building delivering packages in our neighborhood,” Richards said.

Production has started slowly, with just a few thousand units per year, but is expected to grow to 50,000 per year by 2025.

After a rough few years for the industry, Mike Van Boekel, chairman of Unifor Local 88, which represents hourly workers in factories, said it’s good to be positive about the future again.

He said about 700 people employed at the CAMI facility had voluntarily retired over the past two years, but new jobs are now open to anyone who has worked there before. It means that you can have

The plant was out of service in May for renovations, but about 400 workers were on the line as of Monday, and there could be more.

“We actually have to adopt a third shift, which is also good news for people looking for work,” he told CBC News. If that happens, the number of employees at the CAMI plant could reach 1,600 by the end of next year.

GM’s news and other initiatives at key mineral mines and battery facilities have made Canada’s auto sector look forward to an electrified future, and auto consultant Sam Fiorani says it’s a smart move.

About 400 people currently work on the line that builds electric vans at Ingersoll’s CAMI plant, with more expected in the coming months and years. (Evan Mitsui/CBC)

Countries such as Norway are far ahead of North America in adopting electric vehicles, but consumer appetite is growing, says the founder of Auto Forecast Solutions.

“The United States, Canada and many other countries in the world will fall behind them, but we will get there in the next 20 years.”

The big problem facing the industry today is supply, not demand. “Vehicle supply is so tight that dealers can offer whatever they want,” he said. “I’ve walked into a dealership where he added $5,000 to the list price of a car, which is outrageous at this point.”

But as inventory slowly builds up, with more and more consumer cars in the critical $20,000 to $40,000 price range, it’s time to really get things off the ground. We say we are ready to make more than our fair share.

“With the U.S. market rapidly transitioning to EVs, the Canadian industry will be in a very good position to provide more vehicles for the U.S.” I think Mexico is lagging behind at the moment.”

Have questions about climate change and how we are addressing it? Send an email to ask@cbc.ca

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