Ford has announced a $1.3 billion (1.8 billion Canadian dollars) investment into the Oakville Assembly Complex in Ontario to transform it into a Canadian hub of electric vehicle manufacturing.
The plant will build electric vehicles and assemble battery packs in a new campus that will be renamed Oakville Electric Vehicle Complex. Ford says it will repurpose existing buildings into a state-of-the-art facility that will leverage Oakville's experienced workforce.
The retooling and transformation of the site into a high-volume manufacturing hub for North American EVs will begin in the second quarter of 2024, with production of next-generation electric vehicles to start in 2025.
Ford did not offer clues regarding the EV models it plans to make in Oakville, but the factory's 3,000 workers currently build the Ford Edge and Lincoln Nautilus mid-size SUVs.
Ford notes that it is the full-line automaker committed to producing passenger EVs in Canada for the North American market. We're not sure that's accurate since Stellantis also confirmed last year that it will produce passenger EVs based on the STLA Large platform in Windsor, Ontario.
"Canada and the Oakville complex will play a vital role in our Ford+ transformation. It will be a modern, super-efficient, vertically integrated site for battery and vehicle assembly. I'm most excited for the world to see the incredible next-generation electric and fully digitally connected vehicles produced in Oakville."
Jim Farley, Ford president and CEO
The current 487-acre Oakville site includes three body shops, one paint building, and one assembly building. In addition to retooling them and consolidating the three body shops into one, Ford will also add a new 407,000 square-foot on-site battery plant to the transformed campus.
The battery site will utilize cells and arrays from BlueOval SK Battery Park in Kentucky. Workers at Oakville will take these components and assemble battery packs that will then be installed in vehicles assembled on-site.
The automaker says it’s taking a diverse strategic approach to transforming its industrial system to expand EV production by building new greenfield sites – such as BlueOval City in Tennessee – and transforming existing manufacturing sites like in Oakville and Cologne, Germany.
Ford's announcement regarding Oakville is the latest in a line of massive manufacturing investments in North America. Those include the BlueOval City complex in West Tennessee, two battery plants in Kentucky built in collaboration with SK On, and a lithium iron phosphate battery plant in Michigan with tech licensed from CATL.
In addition, Ford is also modernizing its vehicle assembly campus in Cologne, Germany, transforming it into the Ford Cologne Electrification Center, which will build the electric Explorer SUV for Europe.
Finally, Ford, LG Energy Solution and Koç Holding have signed an MoU to build one of the largest commercial electric vehicle battery cell production facilities in the European region near Ankara, Turkey. All in all, Ford will invest $50 billion globally in electric vehicles through 2026.