Volkswagen to Build Large EV Battery Plant in Ontario, Outdoing Previous Automaker Investments

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Volkswagen has decided to build its new “gigafactory” in Ontario as opposed to several U.S. states. The new facility, which will cover hundreds of acres near London, Ontario, will produce hundreds of thousands of electric vehicle batteries annually for the North American market. Although the precise details of how much capital each level of government invested remain unknown, it is anticipated that the agreement will surpass previous auto industry investments, such as Stellantis’ $5 billion electric vehicle battery complex in Windsor. According to industry insiders, the agreement could include approximately $2 billion in federal and provincial subsidies, and it is anticipated to generate thousands of jobs and spinoff opportunities in the manufacturing ecosystem. Even before expansion, the estimated economic return on government investment in the plant is in the billions of dollars.

Details of the Volkswagen transaction

It is unknown how much each level of government contributed to the agreement, according to sources close to the negotiations between Ottawa, Queen’s Park, and Volkswagen. However, insiders predict that the transaction could be even larger than Stellantis’s previous Ontario investments. The agreement may include billions of dollars in subsidies and tax credits to offset initial capital expenditures and incentivize future growth. Volkswagen is anticipated to employ tens of thousands of individuals and stimulate job creation throughout the manufacturing ecosystem.

Economic yield on government expenditure

The Canadian Automotive Parts Manufacturers Association’s president, Flavio Volpe, anticipates that the government package for the new facility will total approximately $6 billion. He forecasts that the plant will generate hundreds of millions of dollars in future corporate and personal income tax revenues, as well as up to 2,500 factory floor jobs and 5,000 spinoff positions in the plant’s supply chain. A senior source noted that in order to compete with the Inflation Reduction Act of the Biden Administration, which offers billions of dollars in operating expenditure credits, Canada must offer tax credits on initial investments. Over the course of eleven years, the federal government is projected to spend approximately $80 billion on a “green” investment tax credit program.

Government strategy

The Canadian government is betting on the supply side to combat climate change, so its strategy is to offer tax credits on initial investments in sustainable technology to encourage companies to invest in such technology. However, the government may need to provide greater transparency regarding its investments in order for citizens to comprehend the value of such initiatives. The federal budget document did not specify the cost of the Volkswagen agreement, but it is evident that the Canadian government is acting to attract investment and combat climate change. Climate change demands have necessitated finding a way to accelerate investments and be more strategic in supporting technologies that represent significant abatement pathways.

source: ©Monika Skolimowska/picture alliance via Getty Images
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