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GM to add battery module assembly to some North American EV plants

(Reuters) – General Motors will begin assembling electric vehicle battery packs near its BrightDrop commercial van plant in Ingersoll, Ontario, in the second quarter of 2024, the company said Tuesday, and will add pack assembly at other North American plants.

The 400,000-square-foot Ingersoll facility will make packs for CAMI Assembly, which last week temporarily halted production of BrightDrop’s Zevo electric vans because of an ongoing battery shortage.

A statement released by GM of Canada said “the company is installing more battery module capacity (at) its other North American EV plants.”

Currently, Ultium battery cells are manufactured at a joint-venture plant in Lordstown, Ohio, with additional plants slated to open in 2024-2025.

Ultium cells are stacked into modules, which in turn are combined into large packs that are installed in EVs at North American assembly plants in Michigan and Tennessee.

Production of GM’s Hummer EV, Cadillac Lyriq SUV and BrightDrop vans has been hamstrung this year by ongoing issues at the Lordstown battery plant.

Chief Executive Mary Barra on Tuesday told analysts that battery production in Lordstown, Ohio, has been hampered because “our automation equipment supplier is struggling with delivery issues.”

The situation should be resolved by year-end, Barra said. GM in the meantime is building battery modules by hand on manual assembly lines, she said.

Last week, GM’s North American president Rory Harvey confirmed that Hummer and Lyriq “have been going down the line in very limited quantities.”

A Reuters analysis in May noted that the slow ramp-up of GM battery plants in Ohio, Tennessee and Michigan could limit the automaker’s annual EV production to less than 600,000 at mid-decade, even as GM aims to increase capacity to 1 million by 2025.

(Reporting by Paul Lienert in Detroit, Editing by Nick Zieminski)


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