It’s not every day that Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Ontario Premier Doug Ford attend an automotive press conference.
But when it’s General Motors and BrightDrop announcing the official start of Canada’s first full-scale electric vehicle production assembly plant, all the top officials attend.
GM’s CAMI Plant: Retooled, Ready to Go
Canada is really looking to jump head-first into electric vehicle assembly, with manufacturing facilities and raw materials already existing across the country. GM’s CAMI assembly plant in Ingersol, Ontario will forever relish in the bragging rights as the first full-scale Canadian EV production plant. Other plants have previously committed to building EVs in Canada, but CAMI beat them to the punch . These include GM’s own Oshawa plant, Ford’s Oakville plant, and Stellantis’ Brampton plant.
General Motors retooled the CAMI Assembly plant in just 7 months. That’s quite a feat considering there is new equipment covering roughly 2 million square feet of floor space. These upgrades include nearly 40 assembly robots that are some 27,000 lbs. each. Joining them are an additional 13 autonomous puller robots that haul gear around the facility on specific predefined routes. We got to take a quick tour of the facility after the press conference to see the changes and investment first hand.
BrightDrop Zevo 600
The vehicle that is being assembled at CAMI is the new BrightDrop Zevo 600. It’s an all-electric final-destination delivery van that aims to replace current diesel and gasoline powered fleets. For reference, it’s about the size of the UPS brown trucks that are a staple across North America.
Built on GM’s flexible Ultium EV architecture, it’s a vehicle that makes perfect sense as an urban and suburban delivery device. With a driving range of 250 miles, it will be able to handle most routes while using zero fuel. There are smaller versions of the van on the way and an an even more compact vehicle line-up in the works.
The Competitive Advantage
Building such a vehicle in Canada makes sense from a global perspective. The country has free trade agreements in place with regions that United States does not. This should give the Zevo 600 a competitive pricing advantage.
Currently, FedEx has received delivery of the company’s first batch of BrightDrop Zevo 600s with more on the way. In Canada, DHL has committed to purchasing the vehicle as well. We’re certain this is just the beginning of vehicle’s like the Zevo 600 being the norm when it comes to at-home delivery.
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