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FLO, GM partner to install 40,000 EV chargers

IMAGE: FLO's charger in use
FLO's CoRe+ MAX charger in use. (Courtesy FLO)

Electric vehicle (EV) charging network operator and smart charging solutions provider FLO has been selected to supply General Motors Company's Dealer Community Charging Program, which will install up to 40,000 public Level 2 EV chargers across North America.

The venture will be the single largest deployment of EV chargers across North America, the companies say.

"GM is a long-term valued collaborator, and we are proud to support this extraordinary effort to grow access to public EV charging in thousands of local communities across North America," said Louis Tremblay, FLO's president and CEO, in a statement.

"Together, FLO, GM and GM dealerships will bring reliable charging to drivers from curbside to countryside."

FLO’s CoRe+ MAX chargers will be made available to participating dealers. The charger delivers a maximum output of 19.2 KW and charges up to 2.7 times faster than a typical Level 2 charging station.

They will be built at primarily at FLO's new assembly facility and testing lab in Auburn Hills, Mich. with support from FLO's Shawinigan, Que. facilities. The Auburn Hills facility will help FLO bring more than 250,000 EV chargers to American drivers and create 730 direct, indirect and induced jobs by 2028.

Participating dealers are eligible to receive up to 10 Level 2 charging stations and GM (GM-N) will connect dealers with installation providers as needed. The chargers will be installed in key public locations including workplaces, multi-unit dwellings, event venues, colleges and universities. The first chargers were recently installed in Wisconsin and Michigan at a park, library, sports complex and wellness centre.

FLO, the largest EV charging network in Canada, is headquartered in Quebec City. It was founded in 2009 as a subsidiary of AddÉnergie Technologies Inc.

The firm has installed over 70,000 fast and Level 2 EV chargers in public, private and residential locations across North America. It also has offices in Montreal, Vancouver and Sacramento, Calif.

GM plant reopens for EV production

In January 2021, General Motors announced its Ingersoll, Ont. CAMI plant would close and be retooled to produce EVs. After a $1 billion investment, the plant, originally opened in 1989, has reopened. The plan is to begin full production of the BrightDrop line of electric delivery vehicles — the Zevo 600 — in January 2023 followed by the Zevo 400 later in the year.

The Zevo 600 will be used primarily by commercial customers such as FedEx, Walmart, DHL and Verizon.

Retooling began in May. From there, the team installed new production equipment covering 2 million square feet.

“The BrightDrop Zevo is a prime example of GM's flexible Ultium EV architecture, which is allowing us to quickly launch a full range of electric vehicles for our customers," said Mark Reuss, GM president in a statement. "And, as of today, I am proud to call the CAMI EV assembly team the first full-scale, all-electric manufacturing team in Canada.”

As of there reopening there were 400 workers at the plant, although its likely the workforce will grow.

According to the CBC, production will start slow, with just a few thousand vehicles annually. It's expected to ramp up to 50,000 per year by 2025.

BrightDrop is a subsidiary of GM created in 2021 that focuses on building delivery vehicles for commercial customers. Prior to the CAMI upgrading, GM made the BrightDrop vans on a limited basis at a facility in Michigan.

DHL is slated to be the company’s first Canadian customer. 

The Ontario and federal governments each contributed $259 million to the plant.

Laurentian Bank to fund Quebec school bus electrification

The Laurentian Bank of Canada will assist in the electrification of Quebec’s school buses, adding to funding already established by the Canada Infrastructure Bank (CIB) and the Quebec Ministry of Transport.

The money will be provided under Laurentian’s equipment financing subsidiary LBC Capital, although no more specifics were provided.

The CIB estimates a zero-emission school bus will provide 35 per cent in savings over its life cycle compared to a diesel bus.

Founded in 1846, the bank (LB-T) now has 3,000 employees. It has $49.8 billion in balance sheet assets and $27.8 billion in assets under administration.

Euro Manganese’s life-cycle analysis results

According to Euro Manganese Inc.’s life cycle analysis, the manganese produced at its Chvaletice mine project will have 59 to 64 per cent less global warming potential than the same mineral produced in China.

It also stated the produced manganese has significantly lower global warming potential than nickel and cobalt, the other cathode metals needed for EV battery production.

In November, SustainableBiz wrote about the Vancouver-based company beginning the commissioning of its Czech Republic mining project. It involves reprocessing old tailings from a decommissioned mine, and is the only sizeable manganese source in the European Union.

Previously, Euro Manganese (EMN-X) stated it could fulfill 20 per cent of the projected 2030 European demand for high-purity manganese. The demand for North American high purity manganese is expected to rise to approximately 200,000 tonnes per year of metal equivalent by 2031.

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