Ford, SK On, and EcoProBM build cathode factory in Canada
Ford, battery cell manufacturer SK On, and cathode material company EcoProBM are investing 1.2 billion Canadian dollars (about 885.6 million US dollars) in a new cathode material plant in the province of Quebec. Once operational in early 2026, it will have an annual capacity of 45,000 tonnes of CAM/year.
Construction of the facility, called EcoPro CAM Canada LP, is already underway in Bécancour in the province of Quebec. It will span 280,000 square metres and create 345 new jobs.
The facility will produce “high quality Nickel Cobalt Manganese (NCM) for rechargeable batteries that are targeting greater performance levels and improved EV range compared to existing products,” says Ford. On top of that, the facility will house research and development activities, aiming to increase “battery safety and performance as well as increasing productivity and minimising the environmental footprint of its manufacturing process.”
The joint venture is still subject to closing conditions and regulatory approvals. EcoProBM established EcoPro CAM Canada LP and February, and the other two partners will come on as shareholders “once the deal is closed,” says Ford. And once the plant is operational, EcoProBM will oversee day-to-day operations.
The partners signed a letter of intent for building the factory last year and have been working together closely. SK On already uses cathode materials from EcoProBM for its NCM9 batteries, which are used in the Ford F-150 Lightning pickup truck. “With the plant, the three companies can beef up a value chain of materials (cathodes)-component (battery)-final product (EV) as well as securing stable supply of core battery materials and price competitiveness,” SK On writes in its media statement. And EcoProBM and SK On are already collaborating on projects in Indonesia and South Korea.
For EcoProBM, Canada is the second global market expansion after Hungary. It marks the company’s entry into North America, while partner SK On wants to set up three battery plants in the US with Ford. The carmaker says the investment is part of its plan to localise “key battery raw material processing” close to where it builds its electric vehicles.
“Ford has been serving customers in Canada for 119 years, longer than any other automaker, and we’re excited to invest in this new facility to create a vertically integrated, closed-loop battery manufacturing supply chain in North America designed to help make electric vehicles more accessible for millions of people over time,” said Bev Goodman, president and CEO, Ford of Canada. “We’re excited for the opportunity for our first-ever investment in Québec with a new facility that will help shape the EV ecosystem there.”