Volkswagen putting battery plant in Ontario

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by Emily Atkins

The Volkswagen Group and its battery company PowerCo have selected St. Thomas, Ontario, to establish Volkswagen’s first overseas gigafactory for cell manufacturing.

From left: Oliver Blume, CEO Volkswagen Group; Thomas Schmall, Group Board Member Technology; Hon. François-Philippe Champagne, Canada’s Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry

Volkswagen Group is one of the world’s largest automakers, with US$295.8 billion in revenue (C$406 billion) in 2022. It manages a portfolio of ten companies.

The plant is slated to be up and running in 2027.

“Our North American strategy is a key priority in our 10-point-plan that we’ve laid out last year,” said Oliver Blume, CEO Volkswagen Group.

“With the decisions for cell production in Canada and a Scout site in South Carolina we’re fast-forwarding the execution of our North American strategy.”

After VW’s Salzgitter, Germany, and Valencia, Spain, plants, this will be the third Group-owned plant worldwide and PowerCo’s first cell factory in North America. It will equip the Group brand’s BEVs in the region with battery cells ‒ and is part of a larger plan that Volkswagen and PowerCo agreed upon with the federal government in August last year.

That agreement focused on deepening cooperation on sustainable battery manufacturing, cathode active material production and critical mineral supply, among others, and on setting up a Canadian office for PowerCo, which has been recently established.

“Today’s announcement by Volkswagen is a true testament to our highly skilled workforce and Canada’s strong and growing battery ecosystem,” said François-Philippe Champagne, minister of innovation, science and industry.

“VW’s decision to establish its first overseas gigafactory in Canada speaks to our country’s competitiveness when it comes to attracting major investments. It is also a vote of confidence in Canada as the green supplier of choice to the world. With Volkswagen and PowerCo, our government looks forward to working together towards a cleaner, more sustainable and resilient economy.“

The VW Group brands plan to introduce more than 25 new BEV models through 2030.