Swedish Firm Northvolt to Build $7B Electric Battery Gigafactory in Quebec, Largest Private Investment in Province’s History


Swedish firm Northvolt has revealed plans to construct a $7-billion gigafactory for electric vehicle batteries near Montreal, in what will be the most substantial private investment in Quebec’s history. The massive establishment was unveiled in Montreal on Thursday, with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau declaring it as a game-changing initiative that will bolster the economy of the future.

Labeling it as a historic revelation, Trudeau addressed an assembly comprising Northvolt executives and local politicians. He talked about the strategic significance of the investment asserting, “Northvolt’s commitment will herald end-to-end battery manufacturing in Canada, elevating our nation to the exclusive club of few other locations, beyond Asia, possessing this capability.”

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Situated between two communities, McMasterville and St-Basile-le-Grand, roughly 30 kilometers east of Montreal, the expansive 170-hectare factory site will boast an initial production capacity of approximately 30 gigawatt-hours of annual cell manufacturing starting 2026. This production level would suffice to power a million vehicles per annum. Furthermore, Northvolt disclosed their intentions to eventually ramp up this capacity.

The gigafactory will incorporate facilities for cathode active material manufacturing and battery recycling while creating employment for up to 3,000 individuals.

To facilitate this monumental undertaking, Quebec’s government pledged up to $2.9 billion, and the federal authorities are set to contribute about $1.34 billion.

Both Trudeau and Quebec Premier François Legault defended this sizable public investment in the project, insisting that such financial commitments are critical to secure local prosperity in the thriving green economy.

Trudeau expressed that when operating at full steam, the plant could provide economic benefits touching $1.6 billion. He claimed, despite Quebec possessing the resources and talent to stimulate green industries, that the federal and provincial governments had to display their readiness to compete on par with nations like the United States.

Taking a stroll down memory lane, Premier Legault drew parallels between this ambitious endeavor and Quebec’s expansions in hydroelectricity production capabilities through massive construction ventures in the late 20th century. Deeming the battery manufacturing plant to be the forefront of Quebec’s industrial revolution.

This groundbreaking announcement by Northvolt is not an isolated event but the latest among several significant battery plant revelations in Canada in recent times, all catalyzed by bountiful funding commitments.

For instance, both Volkswagen’s battery plant in St Thomas, Ont., targeting a 90 gigawatt-hours of production volume, and Stellantis-LG Energy Solution’s plant under construction in Windsor, Ont., with over 45 gigawatt-hours of anticipated capacity, are on track to receive up to $13.2 billion and $15 billion respectively, in production subsidies.