A battery-heavy strategy is helping Canada stay relevant

The forecasting firm expects more of the supply chain to fall into place as electrification advances.

Fiorani pointed to Honda’s and Toyota’s assembly operations in Ontario — where current production covers gasoline and hybrid vehicles, but not battery-electrics — as having potential. General Motors’ Oshawa Assembly Plant, which builds gasoline and diesel pickups, is another example.

“When these plants convert over to EVs,” Fiorani said, the engine plants that support them will be repurposed for battery production or their workforces shifted to other regional battery sites. GM’s St. Catharines Propulsion Plant, which builds V-6 and V-8 engines, is one example of a site that could someday build batteries, he said.

“All these plants are going to have to have something to build in the future.”

As if Canada’s burgeoning EV battery supply chain needed another shot in the arm, a dramatic, proposed shift in U.S. auto policy could lend further assistance.

Eight months after U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin cut the legs out from under President Joe Biden’s proposed electric-vehicle tax credit, the West Virginian and his Democratic colleague from New York state, Sen. Chuck Schumer, released a rewritten version of the legislation on July 27. If passed, it would offer U.S. consumers incentives of up to US $7,500 for EVs.

The previous iteration provided rebates for U.S.-built vehicles, which could have ended the Canadian EV industry before it even got off the ground. But the latest legislation takes a North America approach, giving Canadian minerals and battery components favoured status.

With the spectre of U.S. protectionism receding and Canada’s battery supply chain on a roll, for the first time in a long time, the future of Canadian automotive looks assured.

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