Volkswagen today got one step closer to establishing a future EV battery plant in Canada. CEO Oliver Blume and the Canadian Minister for Innovation, Science and Industry, François-Philippe Champagne, signed an Addendum to the non-binding Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) of August this year to identify suitable sites for a cell factory in maple country.
The two parties will continue their cooperation in the areas of battery value creation, raw material supply chains and cathode material production which had been established in August.
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Furthermore, Volkswagen’s battery company PowerCo SE and materials technology group Umicore have agreed to investigate a strategic supply agreement on cathode material for North America.
“Battery technology is key for our strategy, which is why we are forging ahead with the expansion of battery business at full speed,” Blume said. “Canada is one logical option for the construction of a gigafactory in the region of North America. The country offers high sustainability standards and ideal economic conditions, and the government of Canada has already proven to be a strong and reliable partner."
Recognizing that the EV market in North America is “at a turning point,” the CEO went on to say that Volkswagen is committed to investing across the entire region.
“As the world transitions to a cleaner and more sustainable economy, Canada’s highly skilled workers will be key in helping to build the green vehicle of the future,” Champagne noted. “Today’s announcement between Canada and VW represents another major step forward, continuing our shared work to grow Canada’s and Germany’s clean transportation sector and meet global and North American demand for zero-emission vehicles.”
The Volkswagen Group and Canada had signed the MoU in August 2022. For the development of sustainable battery production, the two parties intend to continue their cooperation on the basis of ESG (environmental, social and corporate governance) criteria between PowerCo and the Canadian mining sector, which is seen as a world leader in responsibility and transparency.
Thomas Schmall, Board Member for Technology at Volkswagen AG and Chairman of the Supervisory Board at PowerCo SE, explained that the group will not only consider site characteristics and infrastructure but also, and especially, the availability of adequate quantities of energy from renewable sources and competitive financial conditions.
“PowerCo will conduct intensive negotiations with all parties concerned in the near future with a view to identifying the most competitive site,” he said.
When will a final decision be made? That wasn’t immediately clear, but we’ll stay on the lookout for any future announcement.