Ford to invest C$1.8 billion to transform Ontario Assembly Complex into a Canadian hub of electric vehicle (EV) manufacturing

Ford Motor Company has announced it’s investing C$1.8 billion in its Oakville Assembly Complex to transform it into a high-volume hub of electric vehicle (EV) manufacturing in Canada. This is a key part of the company’s plan to scale the production of electric vehicles and make them more accessible to millions of customers.

The campus, to be renamed Oakville Electric Vehicle Complex, will begin to retool and modernise in the second quarter of 2024 to prepare for the production of next-generation EVs. This marks the first time a full-line automaker has announced plans to produce passenger EVs in Canada for the North American market.

- Advertisement -

It’s good to see that Ford is continuing its global electric expansion and great news for Canada and the workforce and economy of Oakville. Last year, Magna, the Canadian mobility technology company that produces components for automakers, announced it would be producing battery enclosures for the Ford F-150 Lightning electric pickup truck.

Jim Farley, Ford president and CEO, said: “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.”

The investment allows Ford to repurpose and transform existing buildings into a state-of-the-art facility that uses Ford of Canada’s skilled and experienced workforce. Ford is taking a diverse strategic approach to transforming its industrial system to expand EV production; building new greenfield sites and also transforming existing manufacturing sites like Oakville and Cologne, Germany.

Lana Payne, Unifor National President, said: “Ford’s commitment to invest in OAC retooling and up-skilling signals a bright future for Canadian EV production and for Canadian auto sector employment.

“The transformation of the Oakville plant is an important step towards a stronger industry and testament to the hard work, skills and dedication of our Unifor Oakville Assembly Complex members.”

The current 487-acre Oakville site includes three body shops, one paint building and one assembly building. The transformed campus will feature a new 407,000-square-foot on-site battery plant that will utilise cells and arrays from BlueOval SK Battery Park in Kentucky. Oakville workers will take these components and assemble battery packs that will then be installed in vehicles assembled on-site.

Bev Goodman, Ford of Canada president and CEO, said: “Ford of Canada has been a leader in the country’s auto industry since it was founded 119 years ago, driven by hard-working, dedicated employees.

“As the top-selling auto brand in Canada for 14 straight years, the successful transition to EV production in Oakville will help deliver stable Canadian employment with the opportunity to build the new skills and expertise to drive Ford and the industry forward.”

François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development of Canada, said: “Ford’s transformation from gas to electric vehicles is well underway. 

“Once complete, the Oakville Electric Vehicle Complex will secure thousands of well-paying jobs for our hard-working Canadian autoworkers and boost the competitiveness of Canada’s auto sector. 

“The partnership between Ford and Canada helps to position us as a global leader in the EV supply chain for decades to come.”

Ford’s New Explorer electric SUV

In addition to the Oakville Electric Vehicle Complex upgrades, Ford also has announced:

  • It is creating an all-new EV manufacturing ecosystem in West Tennessee – called BlueOval City – the home of a battery plant and the future home of Ford’s next-generation EV pickup. Together with two battery plants in Kentucky, which are part of a joint venture with SK On, these sites will create 11,000 new US jobs and is expected to begin production in 2025.
  • Through a wholly owned subsidiary, Ford is building a lithium iron phosphate battery plant in Marshall, Mich. Production is slated to begin in 2026, with 2,500 employees. Ford is the first automaker to commit to building both lithium iron phosphate and nickel cobalt manganese batteries in the US, helping America’s number two EV company in 2022 diversify its US supply chain.
  • It is modernising its vehicle assembly campus in Cologne, Germany, transforming it to become the Ford Cologne Electrification Center – the company’s first EV centre of excellence in Europe. This site will be the production home of the electric Ford Explorer for European customers; production begins later this year.
  • Ford, LG Energy Solution and Koç Holding have signed a non-binding memorandum of understanding to build one of the largest commercial electric vehicle battery cell production facilities in the European region. The project is on track to break ground near Ankara, Turkey, later this year, with production to start in 2026.
  • Ford this year is expanding production of the F-150 Lightning at the Rouge Electric Vehicle Center in Dearborn and the Mustang Mach-E at its Cuautitlan facility in Mexico.

Doug Ford, Premier of Ontario, said: “Ford’s investment in retooling its Oakville plant will support thousands of good paying jobs and is an important milestone in our plan to become a leader in the electric vehicle revolution.

Ford’s Oakville Electric Vehicle Complex will begin to retool and modernise in the second quarter of 2024

“Together, with our industry and union partners, we’re building up a world-class, homegrown electric vehicle supply chain, from mining to manufacturing, so that the vehicles of the future are built right here in Ontario, by Ontario workers.”

Vic Fedeli, Ontario’s Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade, said: “Ford’s investment to transform its Oakville facility to manufacture passenger electric vehicles will strengthen our end-to-end EV supply chain and help ensure that the vehicles of the future are built here in Ontario. 

“With our plan to build a strong Ontario, we continue to create the right conditions for businesses and workers to succeed now and for generations to come.”

Ian Osborne
Ian Osborne
Editor-in-Chief at ElectricDrives

Related Articles