Second electric vehicle contract helps cement future of CAMI plant
LONDON, ONT. -- GM’s CAMI plant in Ingersoll has landed its second contract to build electric fleet vehicles.
In addition to last month’s announcement that it will manufacture the Brightdrop EV600 for FedEx, UNIFOR has confirmed to CTV News that a second deal has been reached with Merchants Fleet, a U.S. based delivery service.
“We had the first ten months of orders already spoken for by FedEx, and now we have a major distributor out of the U.S. that has ordered 12,600 more, which will take a few more months,” said UNIFOR Local 88 Plant Chair Mike Van Boekel. “This is a major one, and we just really got out of the gate. We haven’t even built the first one yet, so it’s pretty exciting. It looks like it’s going to be very well received.”
The deal bodes well for the long term future of the Ingersoll plant, said Fanshawe College economics professor Mike Tucker.
“This is a long term commitment by General Motors to the local economy, probably extending the life of the plant by 20 years or more.”
He added the switch to electric vehicles is especially big for CAMI, as GM has been known to walk away from manufacturing plants after about 35 years. The CAMI plant was established in 1986.
News of the second contract follows word from GM last week that it plans to phase out gas and diesel engines and become fully electric by 2035.
It also comes as the newly minted President Joe Biden administration in the U.S. pushes its green energy agenda, most recently with the cancellation of the Keystone XL pipeline.
“It’s obviously becoming clear that there’s a desire both politically and in business to move toward the production of electric vehicles,” said Tucker. “When you look at the uncertainty around the expansion, or even finishing the construction of the Keystone pipeline, there’s a desire by our largest trading partner in the U.S. to adopt that technology.”
Production of the Brightdrop EV600 is expected to begin at the CAMI plant in November.