Toronto, Ontario — In this weekly Tuesday Ticker, two major automotive players announce plans to move into Quebec with a focus on electric vehicle materials.
BASF and the ‘first pillar’
In a move that could prove significant for Canada’s placement in the electric vehicle battery market, BASF has announced plans for the company’s “first pillar” in securing a foothold in North America, in the form of a battery materials facility in Bécancour, Que.
The company said that the facility, which is due to begin operation in 2025, will produce and recycle cathode active materials (CAM) for use in the North American electric vehicle market.
According to a report from Reuters from May of last year, BASF has been in talks with the federal government to help get the company involved in a cleantech fund and Industry Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne has since confirmed that the government has been supportive of BASF’s plans for expansion.
“I see BASF as being the first pillar of the battery ecosystem in Canada,” said Champagne.
“It’s certainly a substantial investment, both for the company and for us…as the federal government.”
BASF already produces CAM at two locations in Ohio and Michigan, in partnership with Japan’s Toda Kogyo Corp.
Last September, the company predicted its battery materials revenue would reach more than 1.5 billion euros ($2.09 billion) by 2023 and more than 7 billion euros ($9.73 billion) by 2030.
Additionally, Champagne sees BASF’s plans for a Quebec-based facility as a keen strategic move in the context of Canada’s overall automotive supply chain.
“Both Quebec and Ontario…will be joined when it comes to the automotive sector of the future,” said Champagne.
“We’re building around Becancour, kind of the full ecosystem of the critical minerals you need to produce a battery… that’s why you’ll see more to come.”
Enter General Motors
General Motors announced similar plans Monday, revealing it too will step into Quebec with a new US$400-million battery plant in Bécancour, Quebec.
The plant will produce and recycle cathode active materials (CAM) for GM’s Ultium batteries, said GM and South Korean company POSCO Chemical, which first agreed to form a CAM-processing joint venture last December.
David Peterson, vice president of corporate and environmental affairs at GM Canada, said Quebec was chosen for several reasons.
“Quebec’s low greenhouse gas, low-cost electricity is very important,” he told Global News. “In addition to its environmental standards, great logistics links and a well-educated workforce as some of the other reasons we chose Quebec.”
By the end of 2025, GM plans to have the capacity to build one million electric vehicles in North America.