Swedish battery manufacturer, Northvolt AB, is set to establish a $7-billion EV battery factory in Quebec, marking a significant investment in North America.
Northvolt, a supplier to Volkswagen and BMW, chooses Saint-Basile-le-Grand, Quebec, for its new factory.
Quebec aims to become an EV battery development hub, leveraging low-carbon hydroelectricity and substantial governmental support.
Northvolt’s investment is one of the largest private-sector ventures in Quebec, bolstering its clean-tech industry.
Swedish firm Northvolt AB, known for supplying electric-vehicle batteries to giants like Volkswagen and BMW, has pinpointed Quebec for its forthcoming multibillion-dollar factory. This move signifies Northvolt’s expansion ambitions into the North American market. The formal announcement, made in collaboration with Quebec and federal government representatives, unveiled that Saint-Basile-le-Grand in the Richelieu Valley will house this ambitious $7-billion project. Historically, this land was under the Canadian Industries Ltd., a chemical and explosives manufacturer.
Quebec’s strategic vision is clear: transforming the province into a pivotal hub for EV battery innovation. This vision is supported by its rich low-carbon hydroelectric resources and financial collaborations with the federal government. Premier François Legault views this venture akin to a modern-day industrial revolution, reminiscent of Quebec’s significant hydroelectric projects from the mid-20th century.
Pierre Fitzgibbon, Quebec’s Economy Minister, recently highlighted the magnitude of Northvolt’s investment, labeling it as one of the largest private-sector inflows into Quebec. Specific financial details remain under wraps.
Canada’s focus on fortifying its clean-tech sector has been evident, especially when juxtaposed against the U.S. push initiated by President Joe Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act. This U.S. legislation earmarked massive funds for green energy and related tech. In response, both Ottawa and provincial authorities are pouring in billions to attract battery manufacturers and related suppliers. Previous collaborations include Volkswagen in Ontario and the involvement of Stellantis and LG Energy Solution Ltd.
Within Quebec, partnerships are blossoming. General Motors Co. is collaborating with Posco Chemical Co. Ltd. from South Korea for a new cathode factory, while Ford Motor Co. is in talks for a $1.2-billion EV battery materials plant. However, Quebec’s subsidy-driven approach for foreign firms has skeptics. Laurent Ferreira, National Bank’s CEO, expressed reservations about this model’s long-term viability.
Currently, Northvolt operates a gigafactory in Sweden, emphasizing sustainable and emissions-free production. Their recent partnerships with Canadian pension funds and U.S. asset manager BlackRock Inc. reinforce their commitment to expansion and sustainability. With an ownership group comprising Volkswagen AG, BMW, and Goldman Sachs, Northvolt is poised for further growth.