March 16, 2023: The Volkswagen group said on March 13 it had chosen Canada to set up its first overseas gigafactory for battery cells — but the Germany-based firm is staying silent on reports it has put a planned battery plant in eastern Europe on hold.
VW and its battery company PowerCo have selected Ontario as the site for its latest project, where the production of sustainable unified cells is planned to start in 2027.
The variable chemistry unified cells are designed to suit a range of VW’s upcoming battery electric vehicles.
VW group CEO Oliver Blume said: “Our North American strategy is a key priority in our 10-point-plan that we laid out last year. 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.”
Meanwhile, VW has yet to respond to several requests for comment from Energy Storage Journal, following reports that the auto giant was waiting to see what benefits it might receive under the US Inflation Reduction Act for new projects in North America — in what could be a fresh blow for the EU’s battery industry plans.
VW’s group board member for technology Thomas Schmall has already urged EU leaders to introduce similar legislation to the Inflation Reduction Act to spur European batteries investment and to provide competitive energy prices for manufacturers — as is reported separately here.
Photo, from left, Oliver Blume, CEO Volkswagen Group; Thomas Schmall, group board member technology; François-Philippe Champagne, Canada’s minister of innovation, science and industry