General Motors’ CAMI Assembly plant in Ingersoll, Ontario has temporarily closed its doors due to a battery shortage. The plant, which only opened in December 2022 and is responsible for assembling the BrightDrop cargo van, has experienced strong sales but has been unable to keep up with demand due to limited production of GM’s Ultium battery.
Mike Van Boekel, the chairperson of Unifor Local 88, explained that the shortage is a result of a bottleneck in the supply of raw materials needed to manufacture batteries. According to a report from The London Free Press, CAMI has approximately four years’ worth of orders on the books for the Brightdrop.
Even before the shutdown the plant was struggling. The 1,500 workers were on rotating shifts, working two weeks on and four weeks off, in order to maintain employment for everyone. However, the battery shortage has disrupted production and forced the temporary closure of the plant. Workers are scheduled to return to work on July 31.
GM currently has only one plant in Ohio producing the Ultium battery, but plans to open a second plant in Tennessee in 2024, followed by a third plant in Michigan in 2025. Rumours also indicate GM Canada will expand the Ingersoll plant to include a 400,000-square-foot addition, where the automaker will assemble its own batteries for the BrightDrop.
As we previously reported, GM had a disappointing Q2 in terms of EV sales. From April to June the company sold only 15,652 EVs. The majority of those, over 14,000, were the Bolt EV and Bolt EUV, a model which GM plans to discontinue at the end of this year.