Tony LaMantia argues the case in favour of turning Canada into an EV mobility hub
The information that Stellantis and LG Vitality Options are partnering on a Canadian electrical automobile (EV) battery manufacturing facility was transformative for the automotive business in Canada. It’s a CA$5bn (US$4.1bn) funding—the most important single automotive funding in Canadian historical past. It would have an annual manufacturing capability of 45 gigawatt hours and can create 2,500 jobs. It’s a pillar for the inspiration of Canada’s EV ecosystem, but it surely’s simply the tip of the iceberg.
The Stellantis/LG funding is the most recent in a sequence of bulletins that make sure the Canadian automotive hall will proceed to thrive, whereas highlighting vital alternatives for American corporations that may help Canada’s centered shift to constructing an EV provide chain.
Canadian EV investments in a nutshell
Let’s begin with the automotive producers. First, probably the most award-winning automotive manufacturing plant in North America—Toyota’s Cambridge facility, positioned close to Windsor, Ontario, throughout the bridge from Detroit, Michigan—made a CA$1.4bn funding that paved the best way for manufacturing of hybrid variations of the Toyota RAV4, in addition to the Lexus RX hybrid and Lexus NX hybrid.
In late-2020, Ford introduced a US$1.8bn funding to construct 5 new battery EVs in Canada. Shortly after, Fiat Chrysler introduced a US$1.5bn funding to construct EVs that can probably use the batteries manufactured via the Stellantis/LG plant. Lastly, GM has invested US$1bn to rework one among its current vegetation right into a hub for producing electrical business supply vans and one other US$400m for a battery plant. In every case, federal and provincial governments have stepped as much as help these investments.
That’s the entire Massive Three plus Toyota making large investments in the previous few years.
It doesn’t start and finish with batteries, although. North America has a scarcity of the supplies for manufacturing batteries—nickel, cobalt, lithium—and the federal government has dedicated CA$3.8bn to fund the event of the nation’s vital minerals business. Solely hours from Toronto and Waterloo is an enormous untapped reserve of battery-making minerals in Northern Ontario.
A compact automotive ecosystem
Notably, the overwhelming majority of this new funding is going on inside a 250-mile-long hall. The principle Canadian manufacturing cluster is kind of a bit bigger—stretching from the bottom of Ontario into Quebec—however the most efficient automotive hall runs from Windsor, Ontario, to Oshawa, Ontario, a visit that takes about 3.5 hours on the 401 superhighway that connects them.
Because the map beneath signifies, the manufacturing and automotive corridors overlap, and inside each of them is the Toronto-Waterloo Hall, which is North America’s second largest tech cluster. There isn’t a different location in North America—and few areas on this planet—the place a serious automotive manufacturing ecosystem accommodates a serious know-how ecosystem.
For apparent causes, this has led to a considerable quantity of funding in new automotive applied sciences. Waterloo has greater than 80 autotech corporations—together with Geotab, ESCRYPT, OTTO Motors—engaged on all the pieces from EV analytics and automotive safety to battery recycling. Waterloo is true in the course of every of the concentric circles on the map. This mid-sized neighborhood of 600,000 is dwelling to these autotech corporations and North America’s most award-winning automotive manufacturing facility—Toyota’s Cambridge facility has gained 16 J.D. Energy Awards. It’s also inside an hour drive of main Honda, Ford and Basic Motors manufacturing amenities. Every little thing may be very shut collectively, accessible for suppliers and tech innovators alike.
A chance for international automotive suppliers and innovators
What all this indicators is that the Canadian automotive hall is exceptionally receptive to new EV and mobility investments, whether or not they’re from Canadian corporations, American corporations or these which might be additional afield. Canada is dedicated to rising its EV provide chain—quick—and the governments are proving to be very prepared funding companions. There are additionally gaps—in mineral mining, refining and most significantly, processing, battery element manufacturing, refurbishing and recycling and EV elements—which means alternative for OEMs and suppliers seeking to develop.
And never simply develop in Canada, both. The US-Mexico-Canada Settlement (USMCA) signifies that most elements produced right here gained’t face tariffs on the US-Canada border. This makes the Michigan automotive cluster a main potential buyer. It’s just a few hours drive from Toronto and simply throughout a river from Windsor. Different areas which have main automotive manufacturing clusters—Kentucky, Tennessee, Indiana—are all inside a lower than a day’s drive.
And it’s not simply the US, both. For builders of merchandise with a world market, Canada has the world’s most complete commerce community, together with agreements with the European Union, Japan and the UK.
Canada can be fertile floor for corporations that need to put money into analysis and improvement. The tax credit score and grant programmes are very beneficiant and there is a superb reservoir of automotive expertise. The College of Waterloo, for instance, positioned in the course of Canada’s automotive hall, is dwelling to Canada’s largest assortment of automotive researchers and has deep expertise serving to producers and suppliers develop new merchandise to climb the worth chain. It’s so near America’s automotive hotbeds that the switch of data and experience is seamless.
The worldwide transition to EVs is a once-in-a-generation taking place, and for corporations seeking to develop, Canada has the most effective deal on the desk.
In regards to the writer: Tony LaMantia is President and Chief Govt of the Waterloo EDC