The announcement today consolidates the automaker’s previous commitments to upgrade GM’s Oshawa and Ingersoll plants, along with R&D facilities in the province, with the direct job count up to 2,600 as a third shift is added in Oshawa
The Ontario and federal governments disclosed today that they are putting $518 million in public funds towards General Motors of Canada’s ongoing $2.3-billion dollar investment in upgrading its Ontario facilities.
The province will supply $259 million in grants with the federal government pledging to match the contribution.
In 2020, GM announced it was putting $1.3 billion into its Oshawa plant to bring vehicle production back to the city; then, in 2021, GM pledged $1 billion to its CAMI plant in Ingersoll plant to refurbish the facility to produce EVs. GM previously announced it will be starting production on its BrightDrop electric delivery vans later this year in Ingersoll.
In addition to clarifying government support, today’s announcement included details that GM will be adding a third shift at its Oshawa plant, which the company says will bring the total new job count to 2,600 jobs — up from the original 1,700 when the Oshawa plant deal was made. Production of the non-electric Chevrolet Silverado pickup began there last November and a second shift was added in January.
While only the Brightdrop vans are electric vehicles, Vic Fedeli, Ontario’s minister of economic development, job creation and trade, stresses their significance.
“We’re making sure that those EVs that are purchased are made here and every component that we can is also made here,” says Fedeli, in an interview with Electric Autonomy Canada. “We, the province of Ontario, are all in. We have slipped all our chips in the middle of the table when it comes to electricity.”
GM’s announcement is the second multi-billion dollar zero-emission auto industry project for Ontario in a month, following the $5-billion joint venture EV battery cell manufacturing factory announced last month by South Korea-based LG Energy Solutions and automaker Stellantis in Windsor. In addition, one of the region’s steel producers, and a key supplier to the local auto sector, ArcelorMittal Dofasco, announced in February that it will spend $1.8 billion to replace its coal-fed ovens and blast furnaces with lower emitting hydrogen technology at its Hamilton facility.
GM in Canada
In recent weeks, GM — which previously said it is building out its manufacturing facilities to produce one million EVs in North America each year by 2025 — has made several other key corporate announcements specifically involving its Canadian activities.
GM and South Korea-based Posco Chemical announced in early March that they will build a $500-million cathode active material factory in Bécancour, Que. to supply its North American EV battery supply chain.
In late March, GM Canada named Marissa West, former executive chief engineering of GM’s mid-size and medium duty truck division, as its new president and managing director, with outgoing president Scott Bell returning to the United States to assume the role of vice president global at Chevrolet.
“This partnership with the Governments of Ontario and Canada is helping GM build a more diverse, innovative and sustainable industry and EV supply chain for the future — and we are proud to be doing that right here in Canada,” said West in a press release for today’s investment and funding announcement. West also added in today’s announcement that GM would continue with its new hiring practice of 50 per cent women in its manufacturing plants.
Also this month GM confirmed the market names for several of its upcoming electric vehicles. The formerly BrightDrop EV410 and EV 600 trucks will now be BrightDrop Zevo 400 and BrightDrop Zevo 600, while GM’s electric delivery pallet, formerly the EP1, is now BrightDrop Trace.
The latter vehicle is currently being piloted in Toronto by FedEx. The e-pallet is an electric box on wheels, powered by an electric motor. Currently, with courier assistance, it takes packages from the delivery van to the delivery address, cutting driver strain and making delivery routes more efficient due to less trips back and forth from the vehicle to the doorstep needed. There is potential in future for the Trace to operate as an autonomous vehicle.
The Trace e-pallet technology was invented in Ontario at GM’s research facilities along with the automaker’s Ultium battery platform that will power the GM brand electric vehicles. Fedeli confirms that GM’s ongoing commitment to investing in R&D in the province helped secure the government’s financial support.