In a recent statement, General Motors (GM) has said that it intends to build a CAM (Cathode Active Material) plant worth USD 393 million in Quebec, thereby adding Canada to an ever-expanding list of North American EV vehicle suppliers. It mentioned that this move intends to reduce reliance on battery materials currently sourced from Asia.
GM’s joint venture partner for the project, Posco Chemical from South Korea, has said that the plant will process material for the Ultium battery range from GM starting from the 7th of March.
GM’s Executive Vice president of global product development Doug Parks stated that General Motors along with its supply chain partners are committed to developing a secure and sustainable ecosystem for Electric Vehicles, which will be built on a foundation of North American manufacturing expertise, resources and technology.
Canada to play vital role in CAM plant by GM
The project has received strong support from local governments. Parks mentioned that Canada will play a vital role in its ambitious project.
According to GM, the ingredients that comprise CAM (Cathode Active Material) make up for approximately forty percent of the cost of a battery cell. The company also said that producing CAM was one of the vital steps in making lithium, cadmium and other materials for use in EV batteries.
A subsidiary of South Korean steel maker Posco, Posco Chemical will be the majority owner in the joint venture. GM had announced plans to finalize the JV with Posco Chemicals way back in December 2021. Planning for the project of the JV has apparently been underway for months.
After a 20-year absence, General Motors will return to Quebec to set up the CAM plant. Previously, the company’s factory that built the Chevrolet Camaro and Pontiac Firebird, closed in 2002.
President of General Motors, Canada, Scott Bell said that he was excited to see Canada playing a key role in the company’s battery ecosystem. He also mentioned that with the new plant in Quebec, General Motors will lead the battery supply chain, at the same time launching the first full Electric Vehicle manufacturing facility later this year.
As the transition to Electric Vehicles speeds up, governments from Quebec, Ontario and Ottawa have actively been wooing battery mineral mining and battery processing investments.
In a statement, General Motors said that Quebec was chosen because of low-cost, hydro-powered electricity and logistical links such as a deep-water port. A key role was also played by Canada’s battery mineral capacity, according to GM Canada’s VP for corporate and environmental affairs, David Patterson.
Although he did not divulge the dimensions or production capacity of the plant, Paterson stated that the entire production capacity would be utilized to supple the four Ultium battery cell plants owned by General Motors, all of which are in the United States. The cells are projected to power GM’s next-gen Electric Vehicles like the GM-Hummer EV, the Cadillac EV and the Chevrolet Silverado EV.
Construction of the new plant is scheduled to start immediately, and the CAM plant is scheduled to begin production in the first quarter of 2025.