The General just marked the first anniversary of construction on its GM Ultium CAM battery plant in Bécancour, Québec, Canada, with work on the Cathode Active Material (CAM) facility proceeding as part of the automaker’s plans to support its EV production supply chain.
General Motors says that the first anniversary of breaking ground on the Ultium plant is “an important milestone as we deliver on our commitment to this entirely new industry,” remarking that the facility will help “expand the role Canada plays in GM’s all-electric future.”
The project started with the March 2022 announcement of a partnership between GM and Posco Chemical of Korea to jointly launch the CAM factory. The partners earmarked $500 million for the facility, which is intended to open in 2025 and is being supported by the Québec provincial and Canadian federal governments, who hope to bring more employment to the area.
Almost as soon as the concrete foundation was poured, General Motors began looking at the possibility of expanding the plant beyond its original size. The goal at the start was the production of 30,000 tons of CAM yearly. This material is one of the major constituent substances of the Ultium lithium-ion batteries powering GM’s EVs.
Posco itself is working on a facility with roughly twice the anticipated output, or an annual manufacturing rate of 60,000 tons of CAM, in Gwangyang, South Korea.
While the Ultium CAM plant in Bécancour is an important piece of the puzzle for General Motors’ plans in the electrification of its lineup, the automaker is already planning additional facilities even before the Canadian location is up and running. GM and Posco are planning a second facility somewhere in North America, which is expected to have a $1 billion price tag and will annually supply cathode materials for 360,000 EVs.
Unifor, Canada’s biggest private sector union, is already preparing an office in Bécancour to support unionized workers at the GM CAM plant. Meanwhile, the tentative agreement General Motors has reached with the UAW may contain clauses relating to unionization of the company’s Ultium Cells battery plants.
The plants will help advance General Motors’ EV goals, which include the launch of 30 new electric vehicles globally, offering EVs in one third of automotive segments – including those popular segments where 70 percent of auto sales occur – and yearly electric vehicle sales of over 1 million units by 2025 in North America and China, all by 2025.