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    SALT GRID/ST. THOMAS (dpa-AFX) – The VW (Volkswagen (VW) vz) group is building its next plant for the production of its own battery cells for electric cars in Canada. The first such factory of the internal PowerCo division outside of Europe is planned in St. Thomas in the province of Ontario, the company announced on Monday. “This is a big step for Volkswagen (Volkswagen (VW) vz). Congratulations to Canada,” said VW Chief Technology Officer Thomas Schmall in Salzgitter. The company presented its plans there. With the decision for the location of the fourth European cell factory after northern Sweden, Salzgitter and Valencia in Spain, VW wants to take its time.

    The start of production in St. Thomas – located about halfway between the Canadian metropolis of Toronto and the US car city of Detroit – is scheduled for 2027. Volkswagen recently announced plans to build a plant for its new Scout pick-up brand in the US state of South Carolina. “With the decisions for cell production in Canada and for the Scout site, we are accelerating the implementation of our North America strategy,” said CEO Oliver Blume.

    In Europe, VW is initially planning six factories for its own battery cells for electric vehicles, also in order to become less dependent on Asian suppliers. Half of them have been specifically decided. “Our three plants in Europe are now set until 2028,” said Schmall. Until then, the group will have enough planned capacity for its own battery cell production. The lead time for new locations takes years. In addition, some economic conditions are currently uncertain. “Why should we rush now to decide on the next (factory) in the environment that we have now? It doesn’t make sense to come to a quick decision.”

    Details on the next European location can be expected by 2025. Volkswagen makes this partly dependent on the economic development, but also on the conditions in different places. Among other things, Eastern European countries and other possible candidates in East Frisia or in Saxony are hoping for a bid.

    During a visit by Federal Chancellor Olaf Scholz to Canada, the country came up for discussion for North America because VW also wants to participate in projects there to mine battery raw materials. Schmall initially reported on Monday that the preparations for a cell plant were “finalizing the settlement decision”. By 2030, the demand for electrical energy for battery cells in electric cars in North America is estimated at 60 to 100 gigawatt hours.

    In Mexico, the largest European car group also has plans. The plants in Puebla and Silao are to be expanded in order to assemble electric cars and “possibly also components such as electric motors” in the second half of the decade. The ID.4 will soon also be manufactured at the US vehicle plant in Chattanooga (Tennessee)./jap/DP/ngu

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