Leading the charge: 7 projects to electrify Canada
Billions of dollars are being spent to establish Canada as a major hub for battery production.
Volkswagen is building a massive battery factory in St. Thomas, Ont. – Volkswagen
Transitioning away from fossil fuels to electricity is one of the great projects of our time and Canada wants to be a major player.
The federal government and provincial leaders are aggressively seeking investment for facilities that support electrification and the strategy seems to be working. In the past few years, billions and billions of dollars have been invested in developing massive facilities to manufacture batteries for electric vehicles and other devices.
Here’s some of the largest projects underway that are supporting electrification in Canada and around the globe.
E-One-Moli – Maple Ridge, B.C.
The ink is still wet on this deal. Just this week, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the federal government and the province of B.C. would be supporting a $1.05-billion lithium-ion battery cell production facility in Maple Ridge, B.C. The facility, which is being developed by Taiwan-based E-One Moli, is expected to produce 135 million batteries annually. The company says the “gigafactory” will be the world’s first ultra-high power battery plant powered 100% green energy.
Umicore – Loyalist, Ont.
Could this be the missing link in North America’s EV battery value chain? Umicore thinks so. Last month, the global tech company announced that it is proceeding with the first phase of a $2.7 billion project will be executed in multiple stages. The facility will manufacture cathode active materials (CAM) and precursor cathode active materials (pCAM), critical components for producing electric vehicle (EV) batteries. Together, the federal government and Ontario are contributing $975 million for the project. Commissioning is expected to occur in 2025.
Ford – Bécancour, Que.
Ford is betting big on Quebec. Construction has begun on a $1.2 billion cathode manufacturing facility in Bécancour. The plant is part of Ford’s strategy to localize key battery raw material processing in regions where it produces EVs. SNC-Lavalin has been awarded an initial works contract for the facility worth $141 million. Once production begins in the first half of 2026, the site will have the capacity to produce up to 45,000 tonnes of cathode active material (CAM) per year.
General Motors – Ingersoll, Ont.
General Motors of Canada has undergone a major transformation. Last winter, the company announced the opening of its first full-scale electric vehicle (EV) manufacturing plant in Ingersoll, Ont. With support from the province, GM Canada spent more than $2 billion transforming its CAMI manufacturing plant into an all-EV manufacturing facility, the first of its kind in the country. Officials say the project could help secure Ontario’s position as a global automotive hub. One of the vehicles the plant is producing is the BrightDrop Zevo 600, a light commercial vehicle that runs on a lithium-ion battery.
Stellantis – Windsor, Ont.
Despite a seven-week strike to sort out project funding, work is underway to build a $5-billion electric vehicle EV battery plant in Windsor. They aren’t just making batteries. They are making Ontario history. The plant marks the largest private in the history of the province and it’s the largest investment in the history of the Canadian auto industry. The facility, a joint venture of Stellantis and LG Energy Solution, will stretch roughly 4.5 million square feet and employ 2,500 people. The plant is expected to begin production next year.
Northvolt – Montreal, Que.
Swedish company Northvolt is in the early stages of setting up operations in Quebec. Just weeks ago they purchased 18.5 million sq. ft. of land in McMasterville and Saint-Basile-le-Grand for an undisclosed sum. The land used to be an explosives factory but has sat dormant for 25 years. The company says it plans to build Northvolt Six, a fully integrated lithium-ion battery gigafactory, just outside of Montreal. Construction of the first 30 GWh phase of the project is due to commence before the end of 2023 and the first operations are set to begin in 2026. Northvolt anticipates the first phase will require $7 billion of investment, the largest private investment in Quebec history.
Volkswagen – St. Thomas, Ont.
Something big is powering up in Ontario. Volkswagen’s St. Thomas Gigafactory will have six production blocks with a potential production volume of up to 90 gigawatt hours – enough for about 1 million EVs a year. This is going to be critical for Volkswagen as it has plans to introduce more than 25 new EV models by 2030.