GM St. Catherines to produce Ultium electric drive motors
By Julian Buckley23 February 2023
General Motors has announced that its St. Catherines plant, located in Ontario, Canada, will manufacture the new GM Ultium electric drive motors.
Production of the Ultium motors will be supported by additional investment in the plant, subject to agreements with the federal and provincial governments.
The move will support about 500 jobs; the plant currently has about 1100 employees.
The GM St. Catherines plant currently produces V8 and V6 internal combustion engines, together with some transmission models. Output of the electric motors will replace a portion of this engine output at the plant.
There are three versions of the Ultium drive, including a 180 kW front-drive motor, a 255 kW rear and front-drive version and a 62 kW all-wheel drive unit. The two larger versions are permanent magnet motors that are designed to reduce the use of rare earth metals. The 62 kW unit is an induction motor. All three versions use similar parts and production processes.
A maximum of three motors can used across a single vehicle. In the GMC Hummer EV, three 255 kW motors are reported to produce about 1000 hp.
The Ultium motors are currently used in GM’s BrightDrop electric delivery vans, which are produced at the GM Ingersoll/CAMI plant, also in Ontario.
GM CAMI recently reopened as the first mass production EV assembly plant in Canada. Full-scale production of BrightDrop Zevo 600 delivery vans started in December 2022.
BrightDrop is a subsidiary of General Motors created in 2021. The vehicles are designed for first- and last-mile delivery customers. Based on the Ultium platform, the battery-electric vans have a range of about 250 miles (402 km) and 600 cubic feet (17 cubic metres) of cargo space.
FedEx has already placed an order for 2500 units of the BrightDrop 600, as part of the global package delivery giant’s plans to move to a zero tailpipe emissions fleet by 2040.