Ford to spend $1.3B to transform Canada factory into EV manufacturing hub

Ford said Tuesday it will spend $1.34 billion (C$1.8B) to turn its 70-year-old Oakville facility in Canada into an assembly plant for its next-generation of electric vehicles.

The campus, which first opened in 1953, will be renamed Oakville Electric Vehicle Complex. The company said Tuesday it will begin modernizing the 487-acre site in the second quarter of 2024. The upgrade includes completely retooling the facility that currently produces the internal combustion engine-powered Ford Edge and Lincoln Nautilus to own that only produces EVs. This is the first time that Ford has completely retooled an existing plant for EVs in North America.

Ford also plans to add a 407,000-square-foot battery plant that will use cells and arrays from its BlueOval SK Battery Park in Kentucky. Workers will assemble the components into battery packs and then install them into EVs produced at the plant.

“I’m most excited for the world to see the incredible next-generation electric and fully digitally connected vehicles produced in Oakville,” CEO Jim Farley said in a statement.

Ford, along with its rivals, are scrambling to upgrade existing facilities and build new ones as they shift from internal combustion engine vehicles to EVs. Ford has said it wants the production capacity to sell 2 million EVs a year globally by the end of 2026.

Ford has also announced plans to modernize its assembly plant in Cologne, Germany and to build a $5.6 billion complex in Tennessee known as “BlueOval” that will be the epicenter of its future electric vehicles.

Ford announced in March that its BlueOval City complex outside of Memphis, Tennessee will include a truck plant capable of producing 500,000 electric vehicles a year. The first vehicle to come off the line will be a next-gen electric truck, code named Project T3, in 2025.

Construction at BlueOval City began last fall. A $5.8 billion sister site in Kentucky, called BlueOvalSK Battery Park, will house a pair of battery plants.

The company also announced in 2023 plans to invest $3.5 billion to build a factory in Michigan that will make cheaper lithium iron phosphate batteries for its growing portfolio of electric vehicles.

The factory will not make nickel manganese cobalt (NMC), a technology that is in its current EVs. Ford said it is working with Chinese company Contemporary Amperex Technology Co., known as CATL. Under the arrangement, Ford’s wholly owned subsidiary would manufacture the battery cells using LFP battery cell knowledge and services provided by CATL.

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