Expect big local benefits as Ottawa, Ontario set to fund GM electric vehicles

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Cami Assembly, the automotive assembly plant in Ingersoll, is poised to get financial support from the federal and provincial governments, The London Free Press has learned.

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At an expected Monday press conference in Ottawa to be attended by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Ontario Premier Doug Ford, GM Canada is set to announce that different levels of government will throw their support behind the automaker’s production of electric vehicles.

It’s not known exactly how much the senior levels of government will pledge, but it comes on the heels of a series of announcements in Ontario related to the electrification of vehicle production in Canada.

“Recent investments by automakers, their battery partners and both levels of governments solidify southern Ontario’s position in EV (electric vehicle) technology and the next generation of automotive manufacturing,” Kapil Lakhotia, chief executive of the London Economic Development Corp., said Sunday.

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Manufacturing employs about 35,000 in the London region and this announcement will help stabilize that, he added. “The announcement today along with other recent developments is great for our region’s parts suppliers and essential for sustainable long-term growth.”

A statement Sunday from London West MP Arielle Kayabaga confirmed it was an automotive announcement that will impact the London region. “While the announcement is in Oshawa, there will be a component that is relevant to the London area,” it read.

Cami employs about 1,600 workers at the Ingersoll plant.

In January 2021 GM Canada announced the factory will produce two fully electric commercial vans, the BrightDrop EV600 and its smaller version, the 410. Production has begun. GM Canada also recently announced battery component production at a plant in Quebec.

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It’s believed the Monday announcement will support those investments. It could be the first of several such announcements by Ottawa and the province.

Stellantis (formerly Chrysler Fiat) and LG Energy Solution recently announced they will build a $5-billion automobile battery plant in Windsor. The Stellantis and LG plant is expected to employ 2,500 when it begins production in 2024 of batteries for the North American market.

Last week, Canadian auto parts giant Magna International announced it will open a $50-million-plus facility that will employ about 150 people to make battery enclosures for an electric version of Ford’s popular F-150 pickup truck.

In 2020, Ford Canada announced plans for electric vehicle production at its Oakville plant with a $1.4-billion investment. It is expected electric Lincoln SUVs will roll off the line there in 2024 or 2025. The company is believed to be looking to establish an EV battery plant in Ontario with an Asian partner.

Honda has also announced it will make electric-hybrid vehicles at its plant in Alliston, north of Toronto. Toyota is assembling hybrid vehicles in Ontario.


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