General Motors has paused production at a plant in Ontario, Canada, due to a shortage of batteries, according to the local London Free Press.
The CAMI plant in Ingersoll, Ontario, builds BrightDrop electric vans, but has been closed for a month due to a reported battery shortage. A union representative told the London Free Press that the factory has four years of orders on the books, but that high demand for GM’s Ultium battery hardware forced the shutdown. The plant is scheduled to reopen July 31.
GM plans four battery plants under its Ultium Cells LLC joint venture with LG, but only one, in Ohio, is currently operational. And a recent fire may have slowed production there, the report noted.
It may not just be a short supply of battery cells for one plant, though. The Detroit Free Press recently reported that EV production at GM’s Factory Zero, located on the border of Detroit and the suburb of Hamtramck, has slowed to a near-stop. In the first half of the year, GM delivered just 49 GMC Hummer EV pickup trucks—down from 371 in the first half of 2022—and 2,316 Cadillac Lyriq SUVs, the Free Press reported.
GM claimed to be accelerating momentum in second-quarter 2023 sales, with deliveries up 19% year-over-year, but that is mostly due to increased sales of internal combustion vehicles. And while GM claimed 15,652 EV sales, most of those (13,900) were the soon-to-be-discontinued Chevrolet Bolt EV and EUV, sales of which were up 101% year-over-year as production and deliveries fully recovered from a drawn-out battery recall.
2022 GMC Hummer EV pre-production at Factory Zero plant in Detroit, Michigan
GM had originally planned to produce 400,000 EVs by the end of 2023. Now it’s delayed that target to mid-2024. But with these poor numbers for Ultium EVs, even that is now looking like a stretch.
GM CEO Marry Barra underscored earlier this year that the company is flexible on battery cells, though, and soon after that statement GM signed a $3 billion joint venture with Samsung to supplement its supply with cells in an alternative cylindrical format. So the company may have an out if the Ultium tech can’t scale as anticipated.