The Volkswagen Group’s battery company PowerCO SE plans to build its largest gigafactory to date in St. Thomas, Ontario/Canada, with expected groundbreaking in 2024 and production starting in 2027.
The company’s first overseas gigafactory for battery cell manufacturing, the factory will equip the VW brand BEVs in the North American region with “cutting-edge unified cells, a whole new cell technology designed for volume production,” company officials said.
Annual production capacity of up to 90 GWh is expected in the plant’s final expansion phase, creating the potential for up to 3,000 highly skilled jobs and tens of thousands more indirect jobs in the region.
The factory represents a planned investment of up to €4.8 billion / CAD$ 7 billion until 2030. The facility will be built over an area of some 370 acres (150 hectares) —more than 210 soccer or football fields — about 30 km (18.6 miles) south of London, Ontario.
According to the company, the plant will sit in the heart of the Great Lakes Automotive Corridor and near major cities such as Toronto and Detroit, providing PowerCO “access to the regional research and innovation cluster, talented workforce, good transport infrastructure and established supply chains. Furthermore, the cell factory will be supplied with 100 % CO2-free energy.”
Calling “Gigafactory St. Thomas” a milestone in VW’s corporate roadmap, Thomas Schmall, Volkswagen Group board member for technology, said, “North America plays a key role in our global battery strategy. The region will become PowerCo SE’s second pillar beside Europe, with battery cells made in North America for North America.”
Volkswagen set up PowerCo SE in Germany as a separate battery company, bundling the group’s global battery business across the value chain — from raw material supply and development to the construction and operation of gigafactories. Since its launch in July 2022, PowerCo SE has announced three cell factory locations: Salzgitter, Germany; Valencia, Spain; and St. Thomas in North America.
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