VW ready to break ground for Canadian battery plant

Volkswagen's battery subsidiary PowerCo has completed site preparations for its battery cell factory in Canada. PowerCo has now officially founded its Canadian subsidiary, which will be responsible for the construction and operation of the factory.

The 90 GWh factory is being built in St. Thomas in the Canadian province of Ontario, as announced in April this year, and is now ready for groundbreaking and the start of construction next year. “We are fully on track. Site preparation as the first phase of the St. Thomas Giga Cell Factory is complete” says PowerCo Chief Production Officer Sebastian Wolf. “We are now ready for the next stage on the way to sustainably and responsibly produced battery cells.”

In the final expansion phase, the plant’s planned capacity will go up to 90 GWh of VW unit cells per year. While PowerCo has not yet specified which cell chemistry will be used, there is talk of “a new technology designed for cost-efficient mass production”. The unit cell produced at the plant is a prismatic cell with a fixed aluminium housing standardized external dimensions, and the company’s production facilities and module manufacturing can be designed for the standardized cell format. The element that is changeable in the planned cells is the chemistry, which the German manufacturer says can be adapted depending on the model and application.

The factory will be built on an area of around 150 hectares (more than 210 soccer pitches). The entire industrial and supplier park is 600 hectares in size. The plans are based on an agreement between VW and the Canadian government that was concluded in August 2022. The first cells in St. Thomas are due to leave the factory in 2027.

While the future factory site is now being prepared for the ground-breaking ceremony at the beginning of next year, PowerCo has also set up an on-site office for the newly founded subsidiary PowerCo Canada Inc. This business will manage all of the battery company’s activities in North America from St. Thomas. According to VW, additional local employees have already been hired, and initial service contracts have been concluded with local companies. These include the Canadian electricity transmission and distribution service provider Hydro One, the Ontario-based project management consultancy Turner & Townsend and the general planner WSP.

PowerCo Canada has also partnered with the Province of Ontario and the City of St. Thomas, as well as local colleges, to prepare Canadian workers for the rapidly emerging battery industry. “This investment by PowerCo is not only a game changer for Ontario’s EV vision, but also a huge boost to our community and the hardworking families that call St. Thomas and Elgin County home. Our region will surely prosper from this for decades to come,” says Joe Preston, Mayor of the City of St. Thomas.



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