• Swedish company Northvolt and the federal and Quebec governments will put $7 Billion into building a new EV battery plant in Quebec.
We'd been waiting for this news for some time now. Pierre Fitzgibbon, Quebec’s Minister of the Economy, Innovation and Energy, confirmed recently there would be big news forthcoming in the EV battery sector.
Swedish company Northvolt made the announcement yesterday that it will build a $7 billion mega-factory near Montreal to manufacture batteries for electric vehicles.
This represents the largest private investment in Quebec's history.
Present at the inauguration in Montreal on Thursday, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called this “a historic and transformative announcement. Northvolt's investment will bring end-to-end battery manufacturing to Canada, making our country one of only a few locations to have this capacity outside of Asia.”
The 170-hectare site straddles the communities of McMasterville and St-Basile-le-Grand, some 30 km east of Montreal. When it goes into production in 2026, the site will have the capacity to produce around 30 gigawatt-hours of cells annually.
To put that in perspective, that's enough capacity to power a million electric vehicles a year. Northvolt plans to double capacity over time.
The mega-factory will employ 3,000 people and include facilities for the production of cathode-active materials and battery recycling.
The Quebec government has pledged up to $2.9 billion to complete the deal, with the federal government contributing $1.34 billion.
Trudeau and Quebec Premier François Legault both argue that the public money invested in the project will contribute to long-term local prosperity, as part of a growing green economy.
The Prime Minister says the plant could generate up to 1.6 billion in economic spin-offs once it in fully operational.
Premier Legault compared this use of public funds to develop EV battery manufacturing to those devoted to expanding Quebec's hydroelectric production capacity in the 1970s, notably with the construction of large dams. He referred to former Premier Robert Bourassa, who was derided at the time for investing so much money in that project, “But finally people are very happy today that we have hydroelectricity.”
Northvolt's announcement is the latest of several to do with large battery plants coming to Canada, helped by generous promises of funding.
In Quebec, Minister Fitzgibbon was on local radio on Friday morning to explain that we’ve only seen about half of the announcement expected as part of the provincial government’s massive green plan.