General Motors is committing almost $800 million to convert its CAMI assembly plant in Ingersoll, Ont., from SUVs to electric vehicle production, following Canadian autoworkers union Unifor’s agreement on a new three-year labor contract. Currently the plant builds the Chevrolet Equinox SUV, but the contract agreement commits the automaker to begin large-scale production of EV600 commercial delivery vehicles at CAMI later this year.
Plant modifications will begin immediately, according to GM.
Currently CAMI has 1,900 Unifor members as employees, who approved the proposed contract with a 91% majority.
Over the past 20 months the automaker has committed more than $4.5 billion to capital programs for EV-related production at U.S. plants, and recently announced it is hiring more than 3,000 tech workers to accelerate its development of electric and autonomous vehicles. GM has promised to increase spending on electric vehicle program development by 35%, to over $27 billion, planning to make EVs 40% of its U.S. product line, with 30 EVs available by 2025.
Earlier this month GM introduced a new business unit, BrightDrop, which will offer “an ecosystem of electric first-to-last mile products, software, and services” for the commercial delivery and logistics market. The EV600 to be assembled at CAMI will be the first vehicle BrightDrop offers. BrightDrop also will introduce an electric pallet-delivery unit for plants and warehouses, called EV1.
The EV600 van will be powered by GM’s Ultium battery, giving it a full-charge range of 250 miles. The first 500 of these vehicles will be delivered to Federal Express late this year, and the EV600 will be available to more customers in 2022.