The Volkswagen Group is pushing ahead with its ambitious EV strategy with plans for a cell factory in Canada. Volkswagen’s battery company PowerCo SE is set to build its largest gigafactory to date in St. Thomas, Ontario. The first cell factory in North America aims to produce up to 90 gigawatt hours per year and has investment of up to €4.8 billion (CAD$7bn) until 2030. The facility has the potential to create up to 3,000 highly skilled jobs, and tens of thousands more indirect jobs in the region.
The announcement was made in the presence of Canada’s Prime Minister, the Right Honourable Justin Trudeau, the Honourable François–Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, Ontario’s Premier, the Honourable Doug Ford, the Honourable Victor Fedeli, Ontario’s Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade, and Joe Preston, Mayor of the City of St. Thomas.
“When we talk about our made-in-Canada plan, we’re talking about creating good, middle-class jobs now and into the future, we’re talking about clean air for our kids and grandkids, and we’re talking about a strong economy that works for all Canadians,” said the Canadian Prime Minister. “That’s what Volkswagen’s new electric vehicle battery plant in St. Thomas – the largest manufacturing plant in the country once built – is all about. It’s a win for workers, for the community, and for the economy.”
St. Thomas is the company’s first overseas gigafactory for cell manufacturing and will equip the Group brands’ BEVs in the North American region with cutting-edge unified cells, a whole 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 the Canadian government in August last year. The Memorandum of Understanding signed at the time focusses on battery value creation and raw material security to promote e-mobility in the country.
“North America plays a key role in our global battery strategy,” said Thomas Schmall, Volkswagen Group Board Member for Technology, “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.”
The decision to expand PowerCo SE’s cell production network to Canada is further proof of the ambitious growth strategy of the Volkswagen Group in North America. This includes the introduction of the broadest portfolio of full-electric vehicles in the United States and Canada by 2030, the expansion of Electrify America’s coast-to-coast charging network in the U.S. and Canada as well as the announcement of the iconic Scout brand to deliver its first all-electric vehicles in 2026.