August 25, 2023 – SK On, EcoProBM and Ford are investing $1.2 billion to build a cathode manufacturing facility in Bécancour, Que., that will provide materials needed for batteries for Ford’s future electric vehicles.
Once production begins in the first half of 2026, the site will have the capacity to produce up to 45,000 tonnes of CAM per year—supporting the production of up to 225,000 electric vehicles annually.
The new facility—Ford’s first investment in Quebec—is part of the automaker’s plan to localize key battery raw material processing in regions where it produces EVs.
Bev Goodman, president and CEO, Ford of Canada, said “we’re excited to invest in this new facility to create a vertically integrated, closed-loop battery manufacturing supply chain in North America designed to help make electric vehicles more accessible for millions of people over time”.
SK On is an EV battery developer, manufacturer, and solutions provider. It was launched as an independent company in October 2021 after SK Innovation—a South Korean energy company—decided to split off its battery business unit.
“Through the cathode [joint venture], the three companies can have a stable supply of battery raw materials in North America,” said Min-suk Sung, SK On’s chief commercial officer.
EcoProBM—a global player specializing in cathode materials—established EcoPro CAM Canada LP in February 2023. SK On and Ford will become investors once the deal is closed. The joint venture is subject to closing conditions and regulatory approvals. EcoProBM will oversee the day-to-day operations of the facility.
EcoPro CAM Canada LP will manufacture nickel cobalt manganese (NCM) for rechargeable batteries that are targeting greater performance levels and improved EV range compared to existing products, says Ford, thanks in part to EcoPro’s core shell gradient (CSG) technology.
Construction has begun on the 280,000-sq. m site, which will include a six-floor building hosting about 345 new jobs. EcoPro CAM Canada LP will also pursue research & development activities aimed at increasing battery safety and performance, as well as increasing productivity and minimizing the environmental footprint of its manufacturing process.
SNC-Lavalin, meantime, reports it has been awarded an initial works contract worth about $141 million to design and build the cathode active material (CAM) plant.
“With a unique endowment of critical minerals, an established manufacturing and industrial base, and a largely decarbonized and expanding power grid, Canada has an opportunity to establish an end-to-end supply chain that can support growing domestic and international EV demand,” said Ian L. Edwards, president & CEO.