Canada’s EV supply chain gets CAN$1.2 billion investment

22 August 2023 | Muriel Cozier

Ford Motor Company, along with South Korean companies SK On – a battery producer, and EcoPro BM, which is involved in the high-volume cathode material market, are planning to invest CAN$1.2 billion in a cathode manufacturing facility in Bécancour, Québec, Canada.

The facility, slated to become operational in the first half of 2026, will produce up to 45,000 tonnes of Nickel Cobalt Manganese (NCM) for rechargeable batteries, meeting the needs of Ford’s future electric vehicle production. The batteries will target improved performance levels and EV range compared with existing products. This will be achieved, in part, through technology supplied by EcoPro BM.

Ford’s first investment in Québec, the production plant is part of the vehicle producer’s plan to localise key battery raw material processing in regions where it manufactures electric vehicles. SK On said that the investment is part of its efforts to secure a stable supply of battery materials in North America, where the company has been developing its battery supply chain.

As well as producing battery materials, EcoPro BM will carry out research and development at the new facility through its company EcoPro CAM Canada. The focus will be on increasing battery safety and performance, as well as increasing productivity and minimising the environmental footprint of its manufacturing process.

Work on the new facility is under way and project management company, SNC-Lavalin has been awarded an initial works contract by EcoProBM to design and build the facility. The contract is valued at $141 million.

Commenting on the project, which is backed by Canada’s federal and provincial governments, The Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry said: ‘This investment once again shows that Canada is the green strategic partner of choice for world leaders in the automobile industry […] This investment is good for the environment and for the economy, and it will ensure well-paying jobs for years to come.’

This latest development comes almost one year on from the Canadian government’s deals with Volkswagen AG and Mercedes Benz AG centred on sustainable battery manufacturing. A Memorandum of Understanding signed between the parties focuses on production of sustainable batteries, cathode active materials, and critical mineral supply.

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