Large-scale EV Battery Plant May Come to Ontario

Published on February 26, 2021 in Electric by Guillaume Rivard

The city of Windsor, Ontario has submitted a bid to land a large-scale electric vehicle battery production facility that would require an investment of $2 billion and employ around 2,000 people.

According to the Windsor Star, the Windsor-Essex Economic Development Corporation (WEEDC) says a major international manufacturer is seeking to build a North American battery plant.

The publication also reports that the governments of Ontario and Canada have been part of the talks to strengthen the city’s bid.

WEEDC chief executive officer Stephen MacKenzie said Windsor is the only Canadian jurisdiction pursuing the plant along with some other unnamed U.S. cities. Said plant would be built on a greenfield site located close to an electricity substation and it would require 90 megawatts of power.

“We’ve got several pieces of property that would work. We’re real strong in all areas, but electrical costs is the one keeping me up at night,” MacKenzie said, referring to Ontario having some of the highest electricity rates in North America.

So, which major automaker could it be? We still have time to guess. Last fall, new Ford CEO Jim Farley said his company is now considering making its own batteries. And earlier this week, he called on new U.S. president Joe Biden to support large-scale battery production and charging infrastructure development to avoid shortages as more and more EVs hit the market in the coming years.

Ford, which has a vehicle plant in Oakville and an engine plant in Windsor, will allocate $1.8 billion to retool the former to produce five EV models from 2025 to 2028. Unfortunately, their identity remains a mystery at this point.

Windsor is also home to Stellantis’ (formerly known as FCA) minivan plant. In fact, the automaker will invest $1.35-$1.5 billion to launch a new platform underpinning plug-in hybrid and/or fully electric vehicles starting in 2023-2024.

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