GM accelerates Ontario plant conversion for electric transporters
General Motors is accelerating the schedule for the plant conversion and production of the BrightDrop EV600 light-duty electric utility vehicle at Ingersoll in the Canadian province of Ontario. In order for GM to meet the demand for the electric van, the internal combustion engine built at Ingersoll is to be phased out earlier.
This will mean that the production of the Chevrolet Equinox currently produced there will end as early as April 2022, according to the automaker. This is GM’s way of creating capacity to double the number of units of the BrightDrop EV600 built in the first year of production to keep up with expected demand.
GM has estimated that the Equinox conversion of the plant will take four months. After a test phase, series production of the EV600 is expected to start at Ingersoll in November 2022. In 2023, BrightDrop production at the Canadian plant is expected to expand to two shifts. “Market permitting”, the plan is to expand to three shifts in 2024.
Originally, the factory, known internally as CAMI, was to be fully transitioned from the production of the Chevy Equinox to that of the EV600 over a two-year period. “We are ramping up our support for BrightDrop production at CAMI to serve the growing market for electric delivery solutions,” said Scott Bell, president and managing director of GM Canada. “CAMI will play a key role in GM’s vision for a zero-emissions future.”
GM had put the investment in the retrofit at $800 million in January 2021. In its current announcement, the group has not given any further details – so any additional costs for the greatly advanced plans have not been communicated.
General Motors presented its new BrightDrop brand in January. The first EV600s are to be delivered to the launch customer FedEx Express from the end of 2021. In addition, the US fleet management company Merchants Fleet plans to procure 12,600 of BrightDrop’s electric delivery vans in order to include them in its customers’ fleets from the beginning of 2023.