VOLKSWAGEN E-VEHICLE BATTERY PLANT PLANNED FOR ST. THOMAS CONSIDERED A GAME CHANGER
Apr 21, 2023
By Bob Komsic
Excitement along the northern shore of Lake Erie, where top executives from German auto giant Volkswagen, joined Premier Doug Ford and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for the unveiling of details about a massive electric-vehicle battery plant that’ll be built in the city of St. Thomas.
The contract with Ottawa will include an upfront capital investment of $700-million and production subsidies for every battery the company makes and sells, amounting up to $13-billion over a decade.
The prime minister adds the economic impact of this project will be equal to the value of government investment in less than five-years.
Trudeau says the plan will be worth over $200-billion to Canada’s economy over the coming decades.
It’ll create up to 3,000 direct jobs and upwards of 30,000 indirect or spinoff jobs.
Doug Ford says Ontario will invest $500 million in direct incentives and spend hundreds of millions more to build build infrastructure, like roads, utilities, as well as police and fire stations in the area.
The plant will be VW’s largest in North America and has the potential to be the biggest VW plant in the world.
Frank Blome, CEO of PowerCo, the Volkswagen subsidiary that makes batteries for e-vehicles says there will be six production lines that will make enough batteries for one-million cars each year.
Blome adds the German auto giant plans to make 25 new e-vehicle models in the coming decades and most the their batteries will come from the St. Thomas facility.
Groundbreaking for the plant is planned for next year with production expected to begin by 2027.
St. Thomas Mayor Joe Preston says the plant gives the community a bright future.
Ford built cars in St. Thomas for decades but closed its assembly plant in 2011.