Landing a Unicorn:
What Securing the Historic $5-Billion EV Battery Plant Will Mean for this Region
By now, you’ve probably heard the historic news. Windsor has landed a unicorn.
A joint venture between LG Energy Solution and Stellantis, along with support from federal, provincial and municipal governments, will see an investment of over $5-billion to bring a state-of-the-art electric vehicle (EV) battery manufacturing plant to the region.
It’s the largest auto industry investment in Canada’s history. The largest private sector investment in Ontario history. The first large-scale lithium-ion battery production plant in Canada, and will be one of the largest automotive battery plants in the world.
Combined with the recently announced $18.5 million Flex-Ion Battery Innovation Centre and Magna International’s $50-million-plus facility coming to Chatham that will employ 150 people to make battery enclosures for an electric version of Ford’s popular F-150 pickup truck, these investments are transformative for this region.
Windsor Mayor Drew Dilkens summed it up perfectly, “We are the automotive capital of Canada. We are claiming the title of the automobility capital of Canada.”
While the factory itself will be built within the City of Windsor, the impacts will be felt throughout Windsor-Essex and Chatham-Kent. From the 2,500 direct jobs being created at the plant, to a projected eight to 10 times that number of jobs in the supplier base, to more than a dozen new programs in the electrification, battery technology, artificial intelligence and autonomous vehicles fields being identified by the University of Windsor and St. Clair College, and more.
Below, we’ve compiled articles and interviews from leaders and subject matter experts on what this means for our region and the efforts already underway to continue to build upon this momentum.
‘Today, we bagged a unicorn.’
New EV battery manufacturing plant announced for Windsor
Excerpt via CTV News | March 23, 2022
Windsor will be home to the first electric vehicle battery manufacturing operation in Canada, the nearly $5-billion joint venture is expected to create an estimated 2,500 jobs for the area.
A number of politicians and business leaders were in Windsor for the big announcement Wednesday that Stellantis and LG Energy Solution have executed “binding, definitive agreements” to establish an electric vehicle battery plant which will produce lithium-ion battery cells and modules in the region.
“We are the automotive capital of Canada. We are claiming the title of the automobility capital of Canada,” Mayor Drew Dilkens said.
The batteries will initially supply all of Stellantis’ North American electric vehicles.
“The cars of the future will be built in Ontario from start to finish,” Premier Doug Ford said.
Stellantis and LG Energy expect the plant will serve as a catalyst for the creation of a strong battery supply chain in the region.
“It’s one of these things that every community would like to get. Today, we bagged a unicorn,” Dilkens said.
The plant aims to have an annual production capacity of more than 35 gigawatt hours and will create an estimated 2,500 new jobs for the Windsor-Essex region.
But it’s the accompanying supply chain that is expected to put tens of thousands more to work. […]
Scale of impact of Windsor battery plant hard to fathom
Excerpt via Windsor Star | March 24, 2022
To appreciate the scale of the impact the new Stellantis/LG Energy Solution battery plant is expected to have on Windsor requires a global perspective, not a local one.
The 45-gigawatt plant will supply more battery power annually than the current battery production of the entire U.S. (44 gigawatts) as of the end of February, according to the online business data firm Visual Capitalist.
“It’s almost difficult to try and anticipate everything because it’s so big,” said federal Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry Philippe-Francois Champagne.
“You’ll have a full ecosystem, small and medium-sized businesses.
“They’ll need to buy supplies. They’ll integrate themselves into the supply chain of Canada.
“I think what we’re doing is build the industry of the future and probably even bigger than what we’ve seen in the past.”
The Windsor plant will be one of the largest automotive battery plants in the world. […]
Electric vehicle battery plant set for Windsor, Ont., signals Canada is a ‘player’ in auto industry’s future
Excerpt via CBC News | March 24, 2022
A planned $4.9-billion electric vehicle battery plant in Windsor, Ont., that is anticipated will help the city reclaim its position as Canada’s automotive capital, promises to be a significant economic generator and create thousands of new jobs.
“This is massive news, not just for the Canadian auto industry. This is huge for Windsor, the Canadian economy and Canadian jobs,” said Brian Kingston, chief executive officer of the Canadian Vehicle Manufacturers’ Association.
“We know the auto industry is going through a significant transformation to electrification right now and for Canada to secure an investment of this size and scale into battery manufacturing … indicates that we are a player in this transition.”
On Wednesday, South Korean battery manufacturer LG Energy Solution and European automaker Stellantis, alongside all three levels of government, announced the “largest automotive investment” in the province and country, which will bring the first lithium-ion electric vehicle (EV) battery plant to Canada. It’s set to be operational in 2024. […]
Justin Falconer, CEO of Workforce Windsor-Essex, said on top of the 2,500 jobs at the plant, he anticipates “up to 10,000” spin-off jobs. […]
Yvonne Pilon, president of WEtech Alliance — which supports tech companies in the region — said the city is well suited when it comes to the tech talent “needed to power this new industry.”
She also said this is a good opportunity to diversify the auto sector to include “every gender, every ethnicity.”
“Traditionally, we know the automotive sector tends to be male dominated,” she said.
“This is a monumental moment to ensure that this new generation, this new sector is not only built for everyone, it’s built by everyone.” […]
‘This city couldn’t afford to miss this opportunity’
Excerpt via CTV Windsor | March 24, 2022
Governments of all levels put up hundreds of millions of dollars in taxpayer money as incentive to lure the $5 billion electric vehicle battery plant to Windsor and that includes a sizeable contribution from the city.
In the next two years, a 4.5 million square foot, 45 gigawatt capacity EV battery manufacturing facility will occupy roughly 220 acres of recently acquired lands south of E.C. Row and west of Banwell Road in Windsor, Ont. […]
“This city couldn’t afford to miss this opportunity.” [says Windsor Mayor Drew Dilkens].
The city is also providing a 20-year incremental property tax rebate under the community improvement plan.
Preliminary estimates peg the annual rebate at approximately $3.5 million dollars, which will equate to a $70 million tax holiday after 20 years.
“So for 20 years, it’s a small investment to make to realize year 21 through hopefully year 100 of the investment that will come through property taxes,” the mayor says.
Detroit-based MotorTrend editor Alisa Priddle says some people will call all of these incentives “corporate welfare,” but argues it’s necessary in order to secure big private investments.
“Without incentives we would not have gotten it,” Priddle says.
Priddle had the occasion to interview Stellantis chief executive officer Carlos Tavares in recent weeks, who noted Canada is a higher cost jurisdiction, therefore making it an underdog in landing a battery plant investment. She says other factors, like talent, location and financial incentives made it more plausible.
“Canada has lost out over the years on millions and millions of location choices because they did not play the game or they didn’t play it to the same level,” she says.
“If you don’t buy the ticket you don’t get to play the game,” says Peter Frise, an automotive, mechanical and materials engineering professor at the University of Windsor.
He says luck had nothing to do with landing the manufacturing facility, and notes incentives more than likely helped seal the deal. […]
‘When Windsor is successful, Chatham-Kent is successful’
Excerpt via Chatham Daily News | March 24, 2022
With the announcement of a new $5-billion electric-vehicle battery plant in Windsor, Chatham-Kent officials have pointed to the area’s proximity and manufacturing experience as assets that will help attract spinoff work.
Stellantis and LG Energy Solution announced their plans Wednesday, which included the promise of 2,500 direct jobs once the new facility reaches full operational capacity in 2025. It’s expected that spinoff jobs in the supply chain could be four to seven times that number.
“We have some great industries in Chatham-Kent right now,” Stuart McFadden, Chatham-Kent’s director of economic development, said. “I’m sure their sales departments are going to find out what it is this particular company requires and they’ll be bidding on potential new work.”
Chatham-Kent’s proximity to Windsor would give local companies ease with transporting parts back and forth, he noted.
“We’re strategically located,” he said. “When Windsor is successful, Chatham-Kent is successful.”
Along with the supply work, McFadden said local companies could support the construction of the facility through structural steel and design. […]
Windsor’s post-secondary institutions preparing for industry needs for new battery plant
Excerpt via Windsor Star | March 25, 2022
Representatives from St. Clair College, the University of Windsor and Invest WindsorEssex will meet virtually next week with the head of LG Energy Solution human resources to discuss the types of programs and skill sets the giant South Korean firm needs to staff its joint venture battery plant in Windsor with Stellantis.
Officials from both post-secondary institutions said they expect the $5-billion plant will have a transformative impact on their programming, infrastructure and research and development opportunities.
“The university and college need to understand what skills the company is looking for to build the programming needed to support them,” said Invest WindsorEssex’s director of investment attraction Joe Goncalves.
“Both institutions have been proactive in preparing programming to meet the emerging technology that not only LG, but the entire automotive and manufacturing sectors, need.” […]
Auto parts giant Magna opening $50M-plus plant in Chatham
Excerpt via Chatham Daily News | March 30, 2022
First, a blockbuster $5-billion electric vehicle battery plant is announced for Windsor that will employ 2,500 people.
Now, a week later, a new auto parts plant in Chatham – feeding off the same transition from gas-powered to electric vehicles that is rippling across Southwestern Ontario’s auto industry – is confirmed.
Canadian auto parts giant Magna International, which already has two plants in nearby St. Thomas, will open a $50-million-plus facility that will employ about 150 people to make battery enclosures for an electric version of Ford’s popular F-150 pickup truck. […]
Strategy launched to help local firms capitalize on battery plant opportunities
Excerpt via Windsor Star | March 31, 2022
Landing a major battery plant for Windsor was an immense challenge, but right behind it for local industrial automation and advanced manufacturers will be getting integrated into the supply chain of LG Energy Solution.
“There’s going to be a lot of work come out of this,” said Harbour Technologies co-owner Andrew Glover.
“The difficulty in dealing with a multinational company for the first time is you’re dealing with 100 potential buyers and a procurement vice-president before you get to the right person. We’ll need some help making those connections.”
The South Korean firm is setting up its first manufacturing facility in Canada and the success of the corporate courtship of a new partner will determine just how much local companies can benefit from the $5 billion investment LG is making in partnership with Stellantis.
Early indications are LG Solutions/Stellantis is looking to build domestic supply chains.
“Several local companies have already received a request for a quote from LG for millions of parts for the plant,” said Invest WindsorEssex director of business attraction Joe Goncalves. […]
To help area companies get a piece of the action, Invest WindsorEssex is building a data bank of local companies. Companies can reach out to provide information to get themselves registered for the data bank. […]
Battery Powered Bonus Episode – Talking LG/Stellantis Announcement with Stephen MacKenzie
Excerpt via Council Conversations podcast with Frazier Fathers | March 24, 2022
Last week Stephen MacKenzie and I recorded our episode 4.04. Less than 48 hours later, news broke of the LG/Stellantis Battery Plant. Stephen agreed to come back on for a rapid response mere hours after the announcement to talk through how it happened, what comes next and more!