St. Thomas will host Volkswagen’s first overseas gigafactory
March 16, 2023
By Anthony Capkun
March 16, 2023 – Volkswagen Group’s battery company—PowerCo SE—has selected St. Thomas, Ont., as the location of its first overseas gigafactory (large electric car battery factory) for cell manufacturing, producing “unified cells”. Start of production is planned for 2027.
“Our gigafactory in Canada sends a strong message: PowerCo is on track to become a global battery player,” said Thomas Schmall, board member for Technology, Volkswagen AG, and chair of the supervisory board of PowerCo SE. “Canada and Ontario are perfect partners for scaling-up our battery business and green-economy jobs, as we share the same values of sustainability, responsibility and cooperation.”
The decision to locate its plant in St. Thomas is a further milestone in the global rollout of PowerCo’s battery strategy, says VW Group. It will equip the group brand’s battery-electric vehicles (BEVs) in the region with “cutting-edge battery cells”.
It is also part of a larger plan that Volkswagen and PowerCo agreed upon with Ottawa in August 2022. The Memorandum of Understanding signed at that time focuses on “battery value creation and raw material security” to promote e-mobility in the country.
Canada offers ideal conditions, including the local supply of raw materials and wide access to clean electricity, said VW, adding that more details on the St. Thomas gigafactory are on the horizon.
In a joint statement, François-Philippe Champagne, Canada’s Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, and Vic Fedeli, Ontario’s Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade, said:
“This historic investment is a testament to Canada’s strong and growing battery ecosystem and Ontario’s competitive business environment. With a highly skilled workforce, clean energy, an abundance of critical minerals, access to markets, and a flourishing automotive and battery sector, we are an attractive investment destination with everything companies need to grow.”
“We are committed to be a reliable partner and good neighbour for the people in St. Thomas and Ontario,” Schmall added.
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