According to its website, Trillium is a nonprofit organization that raises public and investor awareness of Ontario’s manufacturing capability.
Local logistics companies in and around Windsor will also get a boost, said Michael Robinet, executive director of Michigan-based S&P Global Mobility Consulting.
“The logistics of moving those batteries in and out is significant. These are not light,” Robinet said. “They require specialized transportation, specialized handling.”
According to Stellantis, the plant will produce both individual lithium-ion cells and battery modules — made up of connected cells — that will then be shipped to assembly plants and fitted into finished battery packs.
Gray declined to say whether the plant — which will be capable of producing cells to power 450,000 EVs a year, assuming 100 kilowatt-hour battery packs — will supply businesses other than Stellantis.
SPINOFFS FOR SUPPLIERS
Stephen MacKenzie, CEO of Invest WindsorEssex, said the agency is looking to attract new suppliers for the battery plant. But it also plans to work with existing parts makers to help them gain a foothold in the EV ecosystem.
“We are planning workshops to help them make the transition; to help them identify future opportunities and the areas in need of investment.”
In addition to wiring, metal and plastic parts that piece together battery modules, traditional parts suppliers can lend their expertise when modules are combined into battery packs.
Battery-management systems, cooling systems and lightweight enclosures that shield fully assembled batteries from the elements are several examples of components that auto suppliers are likely to be called on to build.
As with front-end modules for vehicles with internal-combustion engines, battery enclosures will typically be produced close to assembly plants, Robinet said.
“You don’t want to be transporting something as large as a battery box hundreds of miles. You’re basically shipping air.”
As suppliers cluster around the new Windsor battery plant, a network of EV makers focused on parts further downstream is likely to grow out from there, Layson said. He cited suppliers that build e-axles, electric-motor subassemblies and other parts with looser ties to EV batteries as likely to establish a presence in relative proximity.
“With this battery plant in place,” Layson said, “it sets Windsor and the environs up for other key component manufacturers to look at Windsor in a new light.”