The battery modules produced there will be used both for the BrightDrop Zevo 600 light commercial EV vans built at the site and for other EVs in the GM lineup produced elsewhere.
GM will use the CAMI facility to stack battery cells, which are manufactured at Ultium Cells plants, and assemble them into modules that will eventually be incorporated in vehicle battery packs. The modular design of GM’s Ultium battery architecture makes this process possible and will enable the CAMI plant to readily produce multiple vehicle pack configurations.
The battery pack assembly process that will take place at CAMI Assembly will involve four stages according to GM. First, individual cells are placed into small stacks and bound together with clips and sealant. Second, the stacks are put together into modules with wiring and electrical fixtures, insulation, and cooling plates.
Third, the modules will be put together into complete vehicle packs, which are equipped with additional electrical component and cooling features. Finally, the packs will be tested and sealed, then sent to assembly lines, either onsite for BrightDrop vans or other EV plants.
GM Canada president Marissa West remarked that the CAMI facility is “playing a critical role in accelerating GM’s all-electric future.” She says that adding battery module assembly to the plant’s capabilities shows “innovation, flexibility, and opportunity during this historic time of transformation in the industry.”
The battery module assembly facility will include 400,000 square feet of working space and will require approximately 300 employees to operate it. Previously, GM retooled the facility in just seven months, converting it from a factory building the ICE-powered Chevy Equinox to Canada’s first GM EV plant. Equinox production is currently taking place at the GM Ramos Arizpe plant and the GM San Luis Potosí plant, both in Mexico.
The need for an on-site battery assembly facility is highlighted by the recent decision to idle the CAMI plant as a result of an EV battery shortage. The pause comes despite high demand for the BrightDrop Zevo 600 van, which currently has orders booked out to four years in advance. Production should restart on July 31st.