Volkswagen and Canadian government officials are celebrating plans to locate an EV battery plant in St. Thomas, Ont. From left: Oliver Blume, CEO Volkswagen Group; Thomas Schmall, Group Board Member Technology; François-Philippe Champagne, Canada’s Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry. PHOTO courtesy Volkswagen Group.
Ontario’s metalworking job shops serving the automotive sector have more to cheer today. The Volkswagen Group and its battery company PowerCo have selected St. Thomas, Ont., to establish Volkswagen’s first overseas gigafactory for cell manufacturing, which will produce sustainable unified cells for battery-electric vehicles (BEVs).
Start of production is planned for 2027.
The decision to expand the PowerCo cell production ramp-up from Europe to Canada is indicative of Volkswagen Group’s ambitious growth strategy for North America. Volkswagen Group plans to introduce more than 25 new BEV models through 2030.
“Our North American strategy is a key priority in our 10-point-plan that we’ve laid out last year. 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,” said Oliver Blume, CEO Volkswagen Group.
The PowerCo decision to locate its next plant in St. Thomas is a further milestone in the global roll-out of its battery strategy. After Salzgitter and Valencia, 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 cutting-edge battery cells ‒ and is part of a larger plan that Volkswagen and PowerCo agreed upon with the Canadian government in August of last year. The Memorandum of Understanding signed back then focusses on battery value creation and raw material security in order to promote e-mobility in the country.
While PowerCo is to become a key player in the development of the battery value stream in North America, Canada offers ideal conditions, including the local supply of raw materials and wide access to clean electricity, to aid PowerCo in becoming a key player in emobility battery production, the company said.
“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,” said François-Philippe Champagne, Canada’s Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry.
More details on the gigafactory in St. Thomas will be revealed in the near future, Volkswagen Group says.