Ontario Premier Doug Ford’s vision of a made-in-Canada battery supply chain to support a budding electric-vehicle industry will require a massive buy-in from the auto and mining sectors to become a feasible and necessary goal, industry experts say.
“It is very possible for Canada to pull it all together,” said Conrad Layson, alternative-propulsion analyst at AutoForecast Solutions, an industry forecaster based in Chester Springs, Pa. “Canada has the raw materials and the knowledge base. What is lacking is the physical infrastructure.”
The Premier has said Ontario — and Canada as a whole — could become leaders in battery manufacturing. And multibillion-dollar plans by the Detroit Three to build electric vehicles at their Ontario plants mean Canada will soon have EV assembly.
Connecting the two ends of the supply chain will require hard work and money, experts said. But thanks to an abundance of natural resources such as lithium and cobalt, Canada is positioned to take advantage as the demand for EV batteries rises.
Carmine Pizzurro, co-founder of the EV infrastructure company eCamion and the manager of the former Delphi battery plant in Oshawa, Ont., said such facilities would need to be built close to EV assembly plants for high-volume production.
Electric vehicles can have hundreds or thousands of individual cells, depending on the style of batteries used in packs.
“I cannot see Ford Oakville building their electric vehicles, particularly at high volume, importing packs from another country. ... It has to be a synchronous plant,” like seating plants that are often in close proximity to assembly plants, Pizzurro said on the Jan. 15 edition of Automotive News Canada’s weekly podcast.