Normal Motors’ CAMI Meeting electrical automobile plant in Ingersoll, Ontario has reportedly closed for the month and idled its workforce unexpectedly.
In response to The London Free Press (by way of Electrek) citing the Unifor union representing the employees, the explanation for the closure is a battery scarcity. The manufacturing unit assembles the BrightDrop Zevo 600 and Zevo 400 electrical supply vans, that are powered by GM’s Ultium battery.
Since there’s excessive demand for the Ultium battery in different GM electrical automobiles, the automaker determined to quickly shut CAMI Meeting. Restricted manufacturing of BrightDrop vans will shutter the plant regardless of robust gross sales, stated Mike Van Boekel, Unifor Native 88 chairperson.
“They’re out in any respect GM crops, they want batteries and it stems from a uncooked materials bottleneck. Gross sales are by means of the roof. Issues are good, however we simply do not have batteries,” stated Van Boekel.
He added that CAMI Meeting has about 4 years of orders on the books and “GM is constructing extra batteries, however it would not occur in a single day.
Normal Motors employs about 1,500 individuals on the website in Ingersoll. Earlier than the shutdown, staff have been on rotating shifts, two weeks on and 4 weeks off, to maintain everybody employed. Staff have been making 60 % of their pay from employment insurance coverage advantages and a top-up when off the job.
Understandably, GM’s choice to shut the plant for the remainder of the month didn’t go down nicely with the employees. “Persons are annoyed. They wish to work, they wish to generate profits. Prices hold going up,” stated Van Boekel. Staff are anticipated to return to work July 31.
GM presently makes Ultium batteries solely on the Ultium Cells plant in Lordstown, Ohio, however plans to open a second in Tennessee in 2024 and a 3rd in Michigan in 2025.
Nevertheless, sources near CAMI Meeting have reported GM Canada is constructing a 400,000-square-foot (37,200-square-metre) addition to the Ingersoll plant the place the carmaker will assemble its personal batteries for the BrightDrop vans. In response to business analysts, GM is on monitor to promote greater than 70,000 EVs this yr, largely Bolt EV and EUV which don’t function Ultium batteries.
Electrical automobile batteries use metals together with lithium, cobalt, and nickel. A lot of those metals are sourced abroad, with China a significant producer. There are looming threats worldwide of shortages for nickel, lithium, graphite, and cobalt.