St. Thomas to be home of Volkswagen’s new electric battery plant

François-Philippe Champagne, Canada’s minister of innovation, science and industry with Volkswagen officials. Photo from @FP_Champagne on Twitter.

St. Thomas has landed Volkswagen’s first overseas battery manufacturing plant.

In what is considered a “major vote of confidence in Canada and Ontario”, the German automaker announced Monday its subsidiary PowerCo will establish an electric vehicle (EV) battery manufacturing facility in the southwestern Ontario city.

Volkswagen officials said Canada was selected as it offers ideal conditions, including the local supply of raw materials and wide access to clean electricity. Last August, the company signed an agreement known as the Memorandum of Understanding to collaborate across a range of sectors to help identify and secure a suitable site for manufacturing of electric vehicles and batteries.

“We now have the unique opportunity to grow profitably in North America and play a key role in driving the transition to electric mobility there,” Arno Antlitz, Volkswagen CFO & COO, said in a statement. “Both new, major projects are integral building blocks of our ambitious growth program for the entire region. We will be able to address an even broader range of customers.”

The St. Thomas plant will be Volkswagen’s third battery plant. The other two are located in Germany and Spain. The so-called gigafactory will produce sustainable unified cells and is slated to start production in 2027.

“Today’s announcement by Volkswagen is a true testament to our highly skilled workforce and Canada’s strong and growing battery ecosystem,” said François-Philippe Champagne, Canada’s minister of innovation, science and industry. “VW’s decision to establish its first overseas gigafactory in Canada speaks to our country’s competitiveness when it comes to attracting major investments. It is also a vote of confidence in Canada as the green supplier of choice to the world.”

Since 2020, Canada has recorded more than $17 billion in investments by global automakers and suppliers of electric vehicles, batteries and battery materials.