As part of its North American electric vehicle (EV) strategy, the Volkswagen Group’s battery company PowerCo SE plans to build its largest gigafactory in St. Thomas, Ontario/Canada. The company plans to invest more than $5 billion by 2030 as well as create up to 3,000 highly skilled jobs at the factory, along with tens of thousands more indirect jobs in the region.
“North America plays a key role in our global battery strategy,” said Thomas Schmall, Volkswagen Group Board Member for Technology. “The region will become PowerCo SE’s second pillar beside Europe, with battery cells made in North America for North America. 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.”
“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.”
— Thomas Schmall, VW
St. Thomas will be VW’s first overseas gigafactory for cell manufacturing and will equip the Group brands’ BEVs in the North American region with cutting-edge unified cells, a whole new cell technology designed for volume production. Groundbreaking is planned for 2024 and production is projected to begin in 2027. The cell factory is part of a larger plan that Volkswagen and PowerCo agreed upon with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government in August last year. The Memorandum of Understanding signed at the time focusses on battery value creation and raw material security in order to promote e-mobility in the country.
“We are honored to partner with Canada, Ontario, and the City of St. Thomas to take the EV industry to a new level,” said Frank Blome, CEO of PowerCo SE. “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.”
The Volkswagen Group’s North America growth strategy includes the introduction of the broadest portfolio of full-electric vehicles in the U.S. and Canada by 2030, the expansion of Electrify America’s coast-to-coast charging network in the U.S. and Canada, as well as the announcement of the Scout brand to deliver its first all-electric vehicles in 2026.
“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,” said Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. “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.”
“Today’s announcement is a true testament to our highly skilled workforce and Canada’s strong and growing battery ecosystem,” added François-Philippe Champagne, Canada’s Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry. “VW’s decision to establish its first overseas gigafactory in Canada speaks to our country’s competitiveness when it comes to attracting major investments. It is also a vote of confidence in Canada as the green supplier of choice to the world. With Volkswagen and PowerCo, our government looks forward to working together towards a cleaner, more sustainable and resilient economy.“
The cell factory is being built on an approximately 370-acre site at the heart of the Great Lakes Automotive Corridor and near major cities such as Toronto and Detroit. The location gives PowerCo prime 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.
Ontario is home to more than 700 automotive-related companies, and since 2020, has attracted almost $10 billion in electric vehicle and EV battery investments.
“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,” said Doug Ford, Premier of Ontario. “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.”
“Last October, we met with Volkswagen in Germany to discuss the possibility of a new EV battery manufacturing facility,” shared Vic Fedeli, Ontario’s Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade. “Six months later, we’re proud to say this potential will become a reality. Volkswagen’s historic investment will strengthen our end-to-end electric vehicle supply chain and create more good-paying jobs for workers in St. Thomas and across the province. Our government continues to create the right conditions for businesses and workers to succeed now and in the future. Thank you, Volkswagen, for choosing Ontario.”