Quebec sees EV-related investments rise as Northvolt to build battery plant in the area

Peng Chen, DIGITIMES Asia, Taipei 0

Credit: AFP

Canadian province Quebec is expecting more EV-related investment to come as carmakers look to reduce supplies from China. Battery maker Northvolt recently announced a US$5 billion project to construct a gigafactory in the area, the largest private investment in the province.

According to Reuters, Guy LeBlanc, CEO of Investissement Quebec, a government-owned investment company, said Quebec attracted CAD15 billion (US$11.1 billion) of EV-related investment in the past three years. Another CAD15 billion is coming over the next three years.

Quebec has abundant mineral resources such as lithium, nickel and graphite. As companies try to reduce their reliance on China, the Canadian province has developed a strategy to promote its strength and secured investment from General Motors, Ford and South Korea-based Posco.

Quebec welcomed its largest investment to date on September 28 when Sweden-based battery maker Northvolt announced a battery plant in the area. Northvolt said the plant outside Montreal will have an annual production capacity of 60GWh in battery cells. The facility will also produce cathode active materials and recycle batteries.

According to Northvolt, construction of the first 30GWh of the project is slated to start by the end of 2023. The plant will employ 3,000 people initially and is expected to start operation in 2026.

It will be Northvolt's first production plant outside Europe. The company's co-founder Paolo Cerruti said Quebec becomes the ideal location for the facility due to its access to hydroelectricity and raw materials.

Northvolt's key customers include BMW, Volvo Cars and Volkswagen Group.

According to Reuters, LeBlanc said Quebec sees less investment from China after the arrest of Huawei's chief financial officer, Meng Wanzhou, in 2018. Some investments from China in critical minerals stopped. However, LeBlanc said some Chinese companies have partnered with European or US companies, aiming to invest in Quebec now.