Supporting North American EV Manufacturing
The transition to electric driving is going to require a lot of batteries – which are big, heavy, and expensive. Those realities, plus the availability of federal tax credits for vehicles that use locally-made batteries and battery components, has resulted in a North American battery manufacturing boom. A number of automakers making big investments in the U.S. and Canada to ramp up battery production to meet anticipated demand – and keep EVs affordable. The latest move comes from Ford, which together with its partners SK On and EcoProBM, is investing $1.2 billion in Canada for a new cathode manufacturing facility.
225,000 EV Batteries A Year
An electric car battery’s cathode is one of its key components, a key part of converting electricity into forward motion. EcoProBM, a Korean company, specializes in the development of cathode materials, and is developing next-generation materials to make batteries more efficient and safe. SK On, another Korean company, is a leading global battery manufacturer whose technology underpins the batteries in many Ford electric vehicles. Together with the automaker, they say that the new cathode factory will be able to produce 45,000 metric tons of cathode materials per year – enough to support the production of up to 225,000 electric vehicles per year.
The new factory will manufacture cathode materials composed of high-quality nickel-cobalt-manganese (NCM). NCM cathodes are generally accepted to be higher-performing than the materials used in existing EV batteries, and will help improve electric driving range.
Developing Next-Generation EV Batteries
The new factory will be located in Quebec, the French-speaking province in eastern Canada, and is Ford’s first major investment in the province in many decades. It will span more than three millions square feet, and will include a six-story building that will house about 350 new employees. In addition to battery manufacturing, the new facility, called EcoPro CAM Canada, will also be a research and development lab, with engineers and students working on next-generation battery technology to further improve safety, performance, and environmental friendliness.
“Ford has been serving customers in Canada for 119 years, longer than any other automaker,” said Ford Canada’s Bev Goodman, president and CEO. “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.”
SK On, which already operates two battery factories in North America, has already announced plans to add four more; the Canadian joint venture with Ford is its fifth. Combined, when fully up to speed in 2026, they will produce materials and components to support 1.7 million electric vehicles per year. The joint venture with SK On and Ford is the first in North America EcoProBM, which has facilities in Korea and Hungary.