General Motors (GM) and BrightDrop were joined by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Ontario Premier Doug Ford in Ingersoll, Ontario, Canada, for the opening of Canada’s first full-scale electric vehicle (EV) manufacturing plant. With investment support from both governments, GM has completely retooled the CAMI Assembly plant in record time to become the new global manufacturing home of BrightDrop’s fully electric delivery vans. BrightDrop also announced the commencement of commercial operations in Canada, with DHL slated to be the company’s first Canadian customer. CAMI Assembly is an assembly plant wholly owned by GM Canada.
The first BrightDrop Zevo 600 rolled off the CAMI production line on December 5, 2022. Following a record-setting launch for GM, BrightDrop completed delivery of the original Zevo 600s to FedEx last year. “The BrightDrop Zevo is a prime example of GM’s flexible Ultium EV architecture, which allows us to quickly launch a full range of EVs for our customers,” said Mark Reuss, GM president. “I am proud to call the CAMI EV Assembly team the first full-scale all-electric manufacturing team in Canada.”
“I am especially proud of the BrightDrop and CAMI teams working together to take the Zevo 600 from concept to commercialization in less than two years, making this the fastest launch in GM’s history,” said Marissa West, president and managing director of GM Canada. “EV manufacturing in Canada is no longer something happening in the future. It’s here and it’s now. That’s good for Canada and for the planet.”
GM began retooling CAMI for EV production on May 1, 2022. In just seven months, the team installed entirely new production equipment covering 2 million square feet (0.19 m2). As full-scale manufacturing of the BrightDrop Zevo electric delivery vans begins and BrightDrop’s customers replace their gasoline and diesel vans, the company expects fleet greenhouse-gas tailpipe emissions will decrease exponentially. At the same time, BrightDrop customer productivity will increase with the use of BrightDrop’s Trace eCarts, which were developed and tested in large part by the GM Canadian Technical Centre in Oshawa. “This is a very exciting moment – a revolution in the way we transport people and goods. Today marks a huge day for BrightDrop, as we expand our footprint and begin producing the Zevo electric vans at scale, and a huge milestone for Canada on the road to a brighter future,” said Travis Katz, BrightDrop president and CEO. “Opening the CAMI plant is a major step in providing EVs at scale and delivering real results to the world’s biggest brands, like DHL Express, who will be our first Canadian customer.”
“When we invested in GM’s project to build Canada’s first full-scale electric vehicle manufacturing plant in Ingersoll, we knew it would deliver results,” said Trudeau. “Today, as the first BrightDrop van rolls off the line, that’s exactly what we’re seeing. This plant has secured good jobs for workers, it’s positioning Canada as a leader on EVs, and it will help cut pollution. Good jobs, clean air, and a strong economy – together, that’s the future we can build.”
“Today’s announcement shows once again that there is no better jurisdiction than Ontario when it comes to building the cars of the future,” said Ford. “We have everything we need to be a North American auto manufacturing powerhouse, with a skilled workforce that is second to none. We are so pleased to see GM lay down even deeper roots here in Ontario and we look forward to seeing them grow and thrive right here in Ingersoll.”
“Today is proof that our historic investments in EV manufacturing are paying off,” said The Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science, and Industry. “With the first BrightDrop vans coming off the assembly line, we’re seeing the skill of Canadian workers making a huge difference as the world moves to EVs. Our government, in partnership with GM, is cementing Canada’s leadership in the EV supply chain.”
“This is truly an exciting day for Ontario as we celebrate the grand opening of GM’s transformed CAMI manufacturing plant and the first all-electric vehicle manufacturing facility in Canada,” said The Honourable Vic Fedeli, Ontario’s Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade. “Watching the first BrightDrop vehicles roll off the assembly line, it is clear that Ontario will build the cars of the future. Our government continues to attract transformative investments by creating the right economic conditions and reducing red tape.”
“This is a proud moment for autoworkers at CAMI Assembly and all across the country,” said Lana Payne, Unifor National President. “It’s fitting that the next big step toward an all-electric future is being taken in Ingersoll —for nearly 40 years, CAMI workers have built high quality, in-demand vehicles. I’m thrilled to see that legacy continue. Witnessing the first BrightDrop vehicle roll off the assembly line shows us how vital it is to invest in and protect Canadian auto sector jobs and the vital role autoworkers have in building a stronger economy and a greener future.”
“Ingersoll is very proud to be the home of GM CAMI Assembly, Canada’s first full-scale electric vehicle assembly facility,” said Brian Petrie, Ingersoll Mayor Elect. “This is a significant investment in the future of GM, BrightDrop and the Town of Ingersoll and is a testament to our strong, dedicated workforce and strategic location.”
GM Energy Transition Goals
- By2035, GM aspires to eliminate tailpipe emissions from its new light-duty vehicles.
- The GMC HUMMER EV and Cadillac LYRIQ are rolling off GM assembly lines in Michigan and Tennessee, respectively, while the GMC Sierra EV and Cadillac CELESTIQ were recently revealed. Chevrolet has revealed the Silverado EV, Blazer EV, and Equinox EV, which will soon join the Bolt EV and Bolt EUV at Chevrolet dealerships.
- These new EVs will be based on the Ultium Platform which encompasses a common EV architecture and propulsion components like battery cells, modules, packs, Ultium Drive units, EV motors and integrated power electronics that can be tailored to the needs of different vehicles, from supertrucks to luxury SUVs, to versatile, affordable crossovers.
- GM has binding agreements securing all battery raw material to support its goal of 1 million units of annual EV production capacity in North America by the end of 2025.
- Production of Ultium EV battery packs is now underway at the first Ultium Cells LLC manufacturing facility in Ohio, with two more sites under construction in Tennessee and Michigan.
GM Canada Investments
GM has engineering, manufacturing, sales and office staffs across Canada, and its work supports thousands of additional jobs in the Canadian supplier base. Recent investments in Canada include:
- November 2020: GM announced plans to invest in Oshawa Assembly for full-size truck production, St. Catharines Propulsion Plant to support production of Corvette transmissions, and Woodstock Parts Distribution Centre to support Customer Care and Aftersales.
- January 2021: GM announced plans to invest in CAMI to support BrightDrop production.
- February 2021: GM announced the opening of its new Canadian Technical Centre McLaughlin Advanced Technology Track (CTC MATT) in Oshawa to support engineering development and testing of advanced software and technologies. Including the MATT, GM’s CTC today employs more than 1,300 engineers and software developers across four locations in Ontario.
- October 2021: GM announced the Dealer Community Charging Program, providing up to 10 chargers for dealers to install in their communities across Canada and the U.S., as part of GM’s $750 million investment in EV infrastructure.
- March 2022: GM and POSCO Chemical announced a C$500 million facility in Bécancour, Québec to produce cathode active material for GM’s Ultium batteries.
- April 2022: GM, with representatives from the Governments of Canada and Ontario, confirmed that the restart of Oshawa operations would create 2,600 new jobs and that CAMI Assembly would begin BrightDrop Zevo production by the end of year.
- August 2022: GM announced it would triple the Super Cruise road network in Canada, giving customers greater accessibility to hands-free driving. Portions of the software development and testing for the launch and expansion of Super Cruise was done by engineers at the CTC.
- November 2022: GM announced a long-term supply agreement with Vale Canada, for battery grade nickel sulfate from Vale’s proposed plant also at Bécancour, Québec. The amount of contained nickel will be sufficient to supply approximately 350,000 EVs annually.