General Motors has announced it will begin producing its upcoming BrightDrop EV600 electric delivery van in Canada. The automaker said it will be investing nearly $800 million USD into converting the CAMI Plant in Ingersoll, Ontario, into Canada’s first large-scale electric vehicle manufacturing plant.
The BrightDrop EV600 electric van program debuted earlier this month at CES 2021, and it will see the first commercial application of GM’s Ultium battery platform which debuted with the GMC Hummer EV last year.
CAMI had long been home to two of GM’s largest volume sellers, the Chevrolet Equinox and GMC Terrain. However, since the latest generation of the SUV twins debuted in 2018 the Terrain has shipped out to Mexico, while the Equinox has soldiered on in a reduced role at CAMI.
Many feared the award-winning facility would soon be on the outs once production of the current Chevrolet Equinox wraps in 2023. Work is scheduled to begin immediately to transform the CAMI plant with the goal of having some BrightDrop EV600 electric van production online by November 2021, with the rest of the transformation scheduled to unfold over the next two years.
According to CBC, 91 percent of Unifor’s 1,900 Local 88 members voted yes to ratify the new deal.
GM’s revamp of CAMI caps of a slew of new investments made in the Canadian auto industry, including $1.03 billion for pickup production at Oshawa Assembly, $86 million into the St.Catherines Propulsion Plant, with another $22 million for a Renewable Energy Cogeneration project at St. Catharines. There’s also been $135 million invested into after-market parts support in Oshawa; and an expansion of GM’s Canadian Technology Center.
The EV600 commercial electric van is the cornerstone of BrightDrop, an all-new business within GM offering commercial customers an ecosystem of electrified products designed to improve the delivery of goods and services. The first 500 electric vans will be delivered to FedEx by the end of the year, the project boasts an estimated range of up to 250 miles on a full charge. Further developments are expected long term, including medium and long-range delivery solutions.