Volkswagen Group announced today it has chosen St. Thomas, Ontario, Canada, for its first-ever North American electric vehicle battery cell manufacturing gigafactory.
Volkswagen Group, along with its battery company PowerCo, selected the region for its production of sustainable unified cells and hopes to launch production in 2027, it said today.
The decision to expand outside of Europe and into North America helps further solidify the automaker’s plans to ramp up cell production and help support the growth of the company’s EV network in North America.
“Our North American strategy is a key priority in our 10-point-plan that we’ve laid out last year,” said Oliver Blume, CEO of the VW Group. “With the decisions for cell production in Canada and a Scout site in South Carolina, we’re fast-forwarding the execution of our North American strategy.”
PowerCo. chose to settle in Ontario because of its ideal conditions and VW Group’s plans to support its build-out of EVs with battery cells. PowerCo and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau agreed last year, as a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was crafted that focused on battery value creation and raw material security, two crucial pieces of cell manufacturing.
Canada offers a healthy supply of raw materials and wide access to clean energy, making it an ideal location for the PowerCo. factory.
North American Growth Strategy
VW Group wants to build out a full portfolio of EVs for the North American market, especially in the United States, it said. More than 25 new BEVs are set to be unveiled through 2030, and the North American market seems to be an ideal location for this growth.
“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,” COO and CFO for VW Group, Arno Antlitz, said. “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. Volkswagen has the right strategy, products, and scale to take a strong position in the North American market.”
Volkswagen has already ramped up the assembly of the ID.4 in Chattanooga, Tennessee, and also plans to upgrade two plants in Mexico to prime them for BEV manufacturing during the second half of the 2020s.
A Head of Steam for Scout
With Volkswagen’s plans to launch the iconic Scout brand in South Carolina, the new battery cell plans for Canada will also support this. Scout operates as an independent unit within the VW Group and will be developed on a new all-electric platform that is geared toward off-road capability.
Last week, Scout landed on South Carolina for its initial production phases, which are scheduled to begin by the end of 2026. The location was chosen due to its prowess as an automotive haven, with over 500 companies in the sector calling the state home.
Volkswagen’s Scout to build $40K electric SUV in South Carolina
The new battery cell plant is not only going to benefit the VW Group, but also the economy in Ontario, as the Honorable Vic Fedeli said, who is the region’s Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation, and Trade.
“This historic investment by Volkswagen and PowerCo SE is a massive vote of confidence in our plan to build and will strengthen our made-in-Ontario electric vehicle supply chain to create more good-paying jobs for workers in St. Thomas and across the province,” Fedeli said. “Whether it’s investing in clean steel or unlocking the economic potential of our critical minerals, our government is on a mission to create the right conditions for businesses and workers to succeed as we build the economy of the future. Thank you, Volkswagen, for choosing Ontario.“
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