Volkswagen picks Ontario for its first North American EV battery plant – by Adam Radwanski (Globe and Mail – March 13, 2023)

Volkswagen Group will build its first North American battery factory in Southwestern Ontario, one of the biggest milestones to date in this country’s efforts to establish itself as a major player in electric-vehicle manufacturing.

The German auto-making giant said on Monday that it has chosen St. Thomas as the site for the facility, after considering locations in both Canada and the United States. It’s a decision that will make waves across the auto sector, especially given aggressive competition from U.S. President Joe Biden’s administration to compete for such investments.

Volkswagen executives previously signalled they were strongly considering Canada for the new factory, and federal Industry Minister Francois-Phillippe Champagne spoke confidently late last year about the deal coming to fruition. But there was some skepticism about this country’s ability to compete with the U.S. government offering automakers massive subsidies through the Inflation Reduction Act.

It is not yet known how much money the federal and Ontario governments have put on the table for the project. They are believed to have committed roughly $1-billion combined for the other major EV battery-assembly investment in Canada to date, by Stellantis NV and LG Energy Solution in Windsor, Ont.

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