A new strategy revealed by Ontario Premier Doug Ford intends to create 400,000 electric vehicles and trucks a year by 2030 and recruit two or three battery manufacturing facilities to the province.
“The automobile of the future” and “the battery chain ecosystem” in Northern Ontario will be supported by a partnership between the government and the auto components business, according to a proposal presented Wednesday at a campaign-style event at Linamar in Guelph, Ontario, approximately 100 kilometers west of Toronto. According to the report, carmakers have already committed billions of dollars to build new electric vehicles (EVs) in Ontario.
However, the plan does not give specifics or describe any significant additional government financing, other than the already stated funds for research and innovation. When the current administration came into power in 2018, it canceled a discount for EV purchases, sanctioned their removal from commuter-rail parking spaces, and reduced the need for new residences to include EV rechargers. This has provoked claims from the opposition that Mr. Ford is encouraging EV conversion.
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As part of the government’s efforts to increase electric vehicles adoption, a new committee of business and non-profit organizations has been formed to advise it on improving charging infrastructure and the “upfront cost” of cars. There are now around 1.6 million automobiles made in Ontario each year. To turn the province into a center for electric vehicle production, it is necessary to defeat a tax credit suggested by US President Joe Biden, which would solely benefit electric vehicles manufactured in the United States.
In October, Ontario and federal governments agreed to donate $295 million each to Ford Motor Company’s Oakville, Ontario, plant as part of a deal made to support expanded electric vehicles manufacture there. To demonstrate that Ontario is willing to put money up for new projects, Flavio Volpe, the head of the Automobile Parts Manufacturers’ Association, said the government’s new plan. There are at least three significant businesses, he added, but he refused to identify them, looking at the province for new battery-related facilities or increased EV production. Similarly, other regions and countries throughout the world are attempting to build a presence in battery metals. Ottawa and Washington signed a cooperative action plan on essential minerals last year, which included agreements to establish a secure domestic supply of battery materials as China’s supply control grows.
On the other hand, Ontario is home to a few exploratory businesses with early-stage electric vehicle battery supply chain initiatives. There are no lithium mines, no lithium processing factories, and battery manufacturers in Ontario, which is the primary ingredient in electric vehicle batteries. There are significant obstacles to overcome before Ontario’s Ring of Fire mineral riches, which the government often cites as a possible windfall, can be part of any EV drive. The province of Ontario has pledged $1 billion to help build a road to a junior exploration company’s nickel asset, Noront Resources Ltd. However, Ottawa must provide matching amounts to get the money.
In a bid to acquire Noront, BHP Group Ltd. sees the Ring of Fire as an ultra-long-term investment. There is no decision yet on whether BHP would fund the construction of the Ring of Fire on its own, according to Johan van Jaarsveld, the company’s chief development officer, in an interview with the Globe-and-Mail. Canada’s Mining Association vice-president for economic and northern affairs Brendan Marshall slammed Ford’s choice to concentrate on wooing battery producers given the billions of dollars in incentives on offer in the United States in Mr. Biden’s recently enacted infrastructure plan.
As a province in Canada, Ontario is playing catch-up as compared to other provinces. Over the last five years, the Quebec government has invested hundreds of millions of dollars in lithium research.