Weekly News Roundup: GM Manufacturing in Quebec, STI on Hold, EV Blazer SS, More

This week, GM will process battery metals in Quebec, Subaru clears up the STI, Ram announces EV ProMaster and Chevrolet an EV Blazer SS, plus Jeep gets sandy

Evan Williams By: Evan Williams March 14, 2022
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GM Bolstering battery production in Quebec

General Motors has announced plans for a new facility in Quebec that will produce essential products for the batteries that will power the company’s EVs. The $500m investment, along with the federal and provincial governments and partner Posco Chemical will produce “cathode active material” for Ultium batteries. This battery material includes processed nickel, lithium, and other essentials that make up around 40 per cent of the cost of a cell, GM said. The facility will be located in Bécancour, across the Saint Lawrence from Trois-Rivières. “Canada is playing an important role in our all-electric future, and we are grateful for the strong support we have received from local, provincial and national officials to grow a North American-focused EV value chain,” said GM EVP for product development, purchasing, and supply chain Doug Parks.

GM

No STI

Subaru’s latest all-new WRX performance model is just starting to hit dealers, but buyers waiting for the even hotter STI to come along might have a very long wait. Subaru USA has just announced that the STI model won’t be happening and the automaker will be skipping at least this generation. “Subaru Corporation is exploring opportunities for the next generation Subaru WRX STI, including electrification. In the meantime, a next-generation internal combustion engine WRX STI will not be produced based upon the new WRX platform,” the company said in a statement, citing the need for the vehicles to evolve to meet emissions requirements and a changing market.

2022 Subaru STI

New ProMaster

Ram has revealed a refreshed ProMaster van for 2023. The van gets a new version of the 3.6-litre Pentastar V6 that makes 276 hp and 250 lb-ft of torque, driving the front wheels through a nine-speed automatic. A new roll-up rear door will be offered for commercial customers, while new colours including Spitfire Orange are intended to appeal to Van Life recreational customers. New front lighting is said to improve visibility while the list of active safety features has grown to include parallel and perpendicular park assist. A 360-degree camera is available as is a digital rear-view mirror using a high-resolution camera in the rear. Ram is also planning to launch a battery-electric ProMaster van next year with Amazon set to be the first commercial customer of the model. The gas van will hit dealers later this year.

2023 Ram Promaster

2023 Ram ProMaster standard, super high and high roof heights

Blazer goes electric

Chevrolet has just teased a new all-electric Blazer SS, calling it the first EV to offer that performance branding. Though just a 20-second tease, the clip shows the charging port of the new Blazer SS and a look at the front fender and part of the nose as well as a look at the wheels and a new Blazer logo with the emphasis on the letter E. What has us most intrigued about the announcement is that the model is set to debut “later this year” and will be on sale in Spring 2023. That’s big news when many of GM’s EV launches have had multi-year waits between reveal and production.

2023 Chevrolet Blazer

Jeep goes back to Gobi

Jeep is bringing back beige for buyers of the 2022 Gladiator pickup. Gobi exterior paint will be offered now through June as a no-cost option for all Gladiator models. The sand colour was available on the Jeep in 2020 and rejoins the brand’s line of special colours including Tuscadero, Gecko, and Nacho.

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