Windsor will be home to Ontario’s first large-scale electric vehicle battery manufacturing plant, the province announced Wednesday.
LG Energy Solution Ltd. and Stellantis N.V. are building the $5-billion facility, which is expected to employ 2,500 people and be in operation by 2025.
Premier Doug Ford touted the investment, the largest in automotive manufacturing in the province’s history, as a means of securing Ontario’s role as a major hub for building cars and batteries to run them.
Initially hostile to electric vehicles upon taking office in 2018, Ford has changed his tune in recent months as the June election looms, announcing a slew of measures to support electric vehicle manufacturing in the province and plans to use mineral resources from northern Ontario to build them.
Earlier this month, Ford announced $131.6 million in provincial funding, matched equally by the federal government, for Honda Canada to retool its Alliston auto plant to build hybrid vehicles.
Last week, the Progressive Conservatives released a “critical minerals strategy” to increase exploration and mining in northern Ontario to supply manufacturers in the south.
“As we secure game-changing investments, we’re also connecting resources, industries and workers in northern Ontario with the manufacturing might of southern Ontario to build up homegrown supply chains,” Ford said in a statement.
Shortly after taking office, Ford scrapped buyer incentives for electric vehicles and even had some public charging stations ripped out. On Tuesday, the government said it would provide $91 million to build more along Ontario highways. Ford has continually dodged questions about whether he will reinstate the buyer incentive program that helped offset the higher cost of an electric vehicle. Other provinces offer such programs, as does the federal government.
Ontario Green Party Leader Mike Schreiner accused the Ford government of playing catch-up on promoting electric vehicle use and manufacturing.
“Ontario should be getting a much bigger share of the [electric vehicle pie], but Doug Ford only just started turning on the oven to bake,” said Schreiner in a statement. “Increasing demand for [electric vehicles] will help fire up the oven faster.”
#EV battery manufacturing plant coming to Windsor, Ont., Ford government announces.
The Green Party would offer cash incentives up to $10,000 as well as a $1,000 incentive for e-bikes, he said.
NDP Leader Andrea Horwath wrote on Twitter that Ford “needs to step up with electric vehicle rebates so more folks can afford Ontario-made EVs powered by Ontario-made batteries.”