Ford to set up cathode plant in Quebec to ensure battery supplies for future EVs

Ford, in partnership with South Korean battery maker SK On and EcoProBM of Canada, plans US$890 million cathode manufacturing facility that will provide materials for batteries to power Ford’s future electric vehicles.

Autocar Pro News Desk By Autocar Pro News Desk calendar 18 Aug 2023 Views icon5833 Views Share - Share to Facebook Share to Twitter Share to LinkedIn Share to Whatsapp

Ford, South Korean battery maker SK On and EcoProBM of Canada have announced an investment of C$1.2 billion (US$ 890 million / Rs 7300 crore) to build a cathode manufacturing (CAM) facility that will provide materials that ultimately supply batteries for Ford’s future electric vehicles.

Once production begins in the first half of 2026, the site will have the capacity to produce up to 45,000 tonnes of CAM per year.

This new facility – Ford’s first investment in Quebec – is part of the automaker’s plan to localize key battery raw material processing in regions where it produces EVs.

“Ford has been serving customers in Canada for 119 years, longer than any other automaker, and 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 over time,” said Bev Goodman, president and CEO, Ford of Canada. “We’re excited for the opportunity for our first-ever investment in Québec with a new facility that will help shape the EV ecosystem there.”

EcoPro CAM Canada will manufacture cathode active materials and, more precisely, high quality Nickel Cobalt Manganese (NCM) for rechargeable batteries that are targeting greater performance levels and improved EV range compared to existing products, thanks in part to EcoPro’s core shell gradient (CSG) technology.

EcoPro CAM Canada LP also will pursue R&D activities aiming at increasing battery safety and performance as well as increasing productivity and minimising the environmental footprint of its manufacturing process.

North America key to SK On’s growth plans

For SK On, the new facility is part of its efforts to secure a stable supply of key battery materials in North America. The South Korean battery maker has been actively developing its battery supply chain in the region where demand for EVs is growing fast.

The latest investment also shows that SK On, which currently operates two battery plants and is adding four more plants with its partners in North America, is committed to lead the way in the region’s transition to EVs. SK On’s annual production capacity in North America is expected to reach more than 180 GWh after 2025, which is enough to power about 1.7 million EVs a year.

“Through the cathode JV, the three companies can have a stable supply of battery raw materials in North America,” said SK On Chief Commercial Officer Min-suk Sung. “We will continue to work with our partners to lead electrification of the global auto market.”

EcoPro CAM Canada will manufacture cathode active materials and high quality NCM for rechargeable batteries that are targeting greater performance levels and improved EV range compared to existing products.

EcoProBM continues its global expansion

For EcoProBM, Canada is the second global market expansion after Hungary and marks the company’s entry into North America.

Through the joint venture, the Québec facility will become a key landmark for EcoProBM’s pioneering of the North American market. EcoProBM will invest to mass produce and supply 45,000 tonnes of cathode materials, supporting production of up to 225,000 electric vehicles annually.

In 2021, EcoProBM established a complete cathode material ecosystem in Pohang, Korea – handling everything from recycling waste batteries to producing lithium, precursors and cathode materials.

"By expanding here in North America, EcoProBM looks forward to globalizing our growth in cathode materials, which has been a unique strength of our company,” said Jae-hwan Joo, EcoProBM CEO. “We also are prepared to contribute to the community in Canada and Québec and contribute to the development of the local economy, including by hiring locally.”

 

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