Ontario and Canada are attracting historic investments in the electric vehicle supply chain, with the recent announcement that Volkswagen will be investing $7 billion to establish its first overseas electric vehicle battery manufacturing plant in St. Thomas, Ontario. The investment is the largest electric vehicle-related investment in Canadian history and is expected to create up to 3,000 direct jobs and up to 30,000 indirect jobs, making it the largest manufacturing plant in Canada. Construction is expected to begin next year, with the plant producing batteries for up to one million electric vehicles per year by 2027.
Premier Doug Ford and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau joined forces with other ministers to celebrate the announcement, which is a “generational deal” for St. Thomas, Ontario, and Canada’s entire electric vehicle supply chain. They see the investment as a strong vote of confidence in Ontario and Canada’s highly-skilled workers, strong economies, and competitive business environments.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said, “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. 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.”
In addition to providing $500 million in direct incentives to Volkswagen, the Government of Ontario will invest hundreds of millions of dollars more to strengthen and grow St. Thomas and the surrounding communities. This includes infrastructure improvements to roads, railways, water, electricity, and police and fire safety. The investment partnership with PowerCo SE ranges between $8 billion and $13.2 billion, depending on production levels.
Premier Doug Ford said, “This investment, the largest auto investment in our province’s history, is a big win for Ontario, the people of St. Thomas and surrounding areas. We’re thrilled to welcome Volkswagen and PowerCo SE to Ontario and thank them for their tremendous confidence in our province, our workers and our growing electric vehicle supply chain. Welcome to Team Ontario, Volkswagen!”
The investment is also a part of Canada’s 2030 Emissions Reduction Plan: Canada’s Next Steps for Clean Air and a Strong Economy, which outlines a sector-by-sector approach for Canada to reach its climate target of cutting emissions by 40% below 2005 levels by 2030, and to put the country on track toward its goal of achieving net-zero emissions by 2050.
Thomas Schmall, Volkswagen Group Board Member for Technology, said, “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. Gigafactory St. Thomas is an important milestone in our roadmap.”
Frank Blome, CEO of PowerCo SE, added, “We are honoured to partner with Canada, Ontario, and the City of St. Thomas to take the EV industry to a new level. PowerCo was founded in Europe to make a difference in the battery business, offering cutting-edge cell technology and sustainable manufacturing. That includes the creation of up to 3,000 new jobs and great working conditions for our employees in the St. Thomas area. We share the same values and are committed to be a reliable partner for the people in St. Thomas and Ontario.”