Volkswagen to Build its Biggest Gigafactory in Canada

Volkswagen is set to build its biggest battery gigafactory to date in Canada as it seeks to expand its North American BEV sales strategy.

The automaker, through its battery production company PowerCo SE, aims to build the company’s first overseas gigafactory in St Thomas, Ontario, planning an expected annual production capacity of up to 90 GWh in the final expansion phase. The gigafactory for cell manufacturing will equip the group brands’ BEVs in the North American region with unified cells, a new cell technology designed for volume production.

Groundbreaking is planned for 2024 and production is projected to begin in 2027. The cell factory is part of a larger plan that Volkswagen and PowerCo agreed upon with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government in August last year. The memorandum of understanding signed at the time focusses on battery value creation and raw material security in order to promote e-mobility in the country.

Volkswagen said the move is part of its growth strategy of in North America. This includes the introduction of the broadest portfolio of BEVs in the US and Canada by 2030, the expansion of Electrify America’s coast-to-coast charging network as well as the announcement of the iconic Scout vehicle brand to deliver its BEVs in 2026.

The planned investment of up to $5.27Bn until 2030 hopes to create up to 3,000 highly skilled jobs at the factory and tens of thousands more indirect jobs in the region. Thomas Schmall, Volkswagen Group board member for technology: “North America plays a key role in our global battery strategy. The region will become PowerCo SE’s second pillar beside Europe, with battery cells made in North America for North America. Gigafactory St. Thomas opens the door to a key market for e-mobility and battery cell production. We aim to make PowerCo a global player in the battery business and to pave the way for clean, sustainable mobility. Gigafactory St. Thomas is an important milestone in our roadmap.”

— Paul Myles is a seasoned automotive journalist based in Europe. Follow him on Twitter @Paulmyles_

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