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Michael Kern

Michael Kern

Michael Kern is a newswriter and editor at Safehaven.com and Oilprice.com, 

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Global Auto Giants Find Their EV Haven In Small Canadian Town

  • A consortium including Ford and South Korean companies is investing C$1.2 billion to produce 45,000 tonnes of cathode active materials in Becancour annually for Ford's EVs.
  • GM, POSCO Future M, and Germany's BASF SE have also signaled intentions to set up battery material facilities in the town.
  • Canada's government is heavily supporting this EV movement with conditional loans, leveraging the country's rich mineral landscape to attract companies in the EV supply chain.
EV

Becancour, a quaint Canadian town nestled along the St. Lawrence River, is not the kind of place you’d typically associate with a high-tech revolution. With a population that barely surpasses 14,000, this town might just be at the epicenter of North America's burgeoning electric vehicle (EV) supply chain.

It’s easy to think of the EV transition in terms of swanky new cars and charging stations, but for anyone familiar with the intricacies of the energy world, it’s clear that the heart of the EV beast lies in its batteries. And as global giants pivot towards the green tech future, a consortium comprising of Ford Motor Co and South Korean trailblazers EcoProBM and SK On Co Ltd have decided that Becancour is just the place to kickstart their EV dreams.

With a cool C$1.2 billion (equivalent to $887 million) on the line, this consortium is gearing up to birth an EV battery material powerhouse right in Becancour. The aim? Producing a staggering 45,000 tonnes of cathode active materials (CAM) yearly, dedicated specifically to Ford's electric fleet.

It's not just about quantity. Ford promises quality too, highlighting their intent to churn out high-grade nickel cobalt manganese (NCM) – the golden trio for rechargeable batteries that boast enhanced performance and extended EV range. 

As Lisa Drake, Ford's EV frontwoman, put it, “This cathode facility will supply the material that goes into Ford’s future EVs in North America, specifically some of our future trucks.”

Now, seasoned industry watchers might note that this is Ford's debut foray into Quebec, an interesting move given its century-long ties with neighboring Ontario. But Becancour's recent buzz makes it clear why this detour is happening. 

Ford isn't the first automotive titan to cast its lot with the town. GM and South Korea’s POSCO Future M earlier signaled their intentions to amplify production capabilities in a battery material facility there. Even Germany’s BASF SE is joining this Becancour bandwagon.

Canada’s government, ever the eager participant in this green shift, isn’t shy about pitching in either. With a conditional loan of C$322 million from the federal coffers, matched by Quebec's partially forgivable loan of the same sum, it’s clear that the nation is investing heavily in this EV promise. 

And why shouldn’t they? With a vast mining landscape, rich in coveted minerals like lithium, nickel, and cobalt, Canada is uniquely positioned to be the seductress of companies spanning the entire EV supply chain.

This latest industrial embrace further entrenches the country's commitment to a greener future, amplified by its multibillion-dollar green technology fund. 

Francois-Philippe Champagne, Canada's industry bigwig, couldn't hide his enthusiasm: “This is a big vote of confidence in the (EV) ecosystem we’ve been building,” adding with a dash of pride that Quebec is finally sharing the limelight with Ontario in the automotive sector.

But Becancour isn’t the only Canadian town gearing up for the EV revolution. Ontario, the traditional heart of Canada’s auto industry, is witnessing a flood of investments from automotive behemoths like Volkswagen and Stellantis.

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All in all, while the world focuses on cutting carbon footprints and ushering in an era of green tech, towns like Becancour, previously overshadowed by their more industrious neighbors, are emerging as the dark horses in this energy transition. And for those who understand the stakes, it's evident that the EV battery game is more than just tech – it's a reimagining of geopolitical dynamics and industrial hotspots.

By Michael Kern for Oilprice.com

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