Quebec and the federal government will pay more than half of a new cathode plant that will supply Ford for its electric vehicles.
The $1.2 billion plant was announced with great fanfare in Bécancour on Thursday morning, and the governments of Quebec and Ottawa will provide $644 million in funding in various forms.
The facility, which is expected to open in 2026, is considered “critical” by Ford because it will supply battery cathodes for its F-150 Lightning and Mustang Mach-E pickup trucks.
Return on investment
Prime Minister François Legault assured that the benefits would exceed the public funding allocated by governments, but he did not venture to put forward figures.
“I do not intend to give gifts to any company, he assured. It has to be give and take. If I donate $1, I have to collect more than $1. »
He who had denounced the government’s takeover of Bombardier’s C Series when he was in opposition refused to draw a parallel. The governments will not hold any stake in the factory, which they finance halfway.
For his part, the Minister of the Economy, Pierre Fitzgibbon, however suggested that the governments would recover their marbles in various fallouts in less than 10 years.
Quebec is injecting $322 million, as is Ottawa. Of this sum from the province, 194 million will not have to be reimbursed by the company. These are essentially tax credits, Mr. Fitzgibbon explained.
Arrival of Ford in Quebec
The plant, which will employ 350 workers, is a partnership between Ford and Korea’s EcoProBM and SK On, a major cell maker. However, the press release specifies that there are still terms and conditions that the partners must agree to.
EcoProBM boss Joo Jae-hwan said the company chose Bécancour because of the skills of the workforce, government support, access to critical minerals that are used to produce batteries, a stable supply of clean electricity and, finally, access to port facilities, highways and railways.
It is estimated that the plant will produce an average of 45,000 tons of cathode active materials each year.
This is the first time that Ford has invested in Quebec. The manufacturer’s vice-president of industrialization for electric models, Lisa Drake, pointed out that the founder, Henry Ford, had nevertheless established his company in Canada a year after its founding, which dates from 120 years ago.
“Henry, we are in Quebec today,” she said with a touch of humor.
“We are now able to attract big players, like Ford. For me, it is a great pride, also declared Thursday François Legault. It confirms that Quebec is really positioning itself as a world leader in the green economy. »
Mme Drake assures that the manufacturer is here for good, since lithium-ion battery technology such as that which will be used in the Bécancour plant is “a long-term technology”.