Quebec is on the radar of Panasonic, which is exploring North America to build a battery factory there. The charm operation of Ottawa and Quebec with the Japanese giant has not ended, according to information collected by Press.
More importantly, it’s only a matter of time before we see a battery manufacturer come to Quebec, according to two sources at the heart of the battery industry who are not authorized to speak publicly at this stage.
This assertion clashes with the recent discourse of the Legault government according to which battery manufacturers preferred to settle near car manufacturers.
Attracting Panasonic, Tesla’s preferred supplier would be a huge success for the Quebec ecosystem. Quebec has yet to convince a battery manufacturer to establish itself on its territory, unlike Ontario with Stellantis and LG.
It’s not yet in the pocket of Panasonic, which is also eyeing it in the US, according to the independent site Electric Autonomy Canada. The Chinese multinational CATL would have the same approach.
After welcoming Panasonic representatives to Ottawa earlier this year, Federal Minister for Innovation, Science and Industry François-Philippe Champagne will return the courtesy over the summer. The next meeting will take place in Japan, where the multinational is established, confirmed Mr. Champagne to the Press last Monday, on the sidelines of an economic announcement in Mirabel.
“I would tell you that we have conversations with Panasonic like the others,” he explained on the same occasion. The discussions are progressing. You know, these are important investments. Each factory costs several billion dollars. That is why you have to be proactive. »
Panasonic did not respond to questions from Press send by email.
We have discussions with almost every battery manufacturer in the world, whether they are European, Japanese, or Korean.
François-Philippe Champagne, Federal Minister for Innovation, Science, and Industry
As for Investissement Québec International, its president, Hubert Bolduc, cannot reveal who he works with, subject to confidentiality agreements. His boss, Guy LeBlanc, traveled to Japan last April to meet with battery industry players, Mr. Bolduc was content to say.
According to Electric Autonomy Canada, Panasonic must supply about 4,700 batteries to Tesla’s plant in Reno, Nevada. This would explain the Japanese giant’s interest in settling on the North American continent. In both Quebec and Ottawa, the Panasonic name does not appear on the Lobbyist Registry.
Everybody wants to say hello to Panasonic, but it still has to get the location right. About 1 million square meters, or 166 soccer fields, are needed, along with many other requirements. A cellier represents more than 3,000 long-term jobs.
Québec’s capacity to host large-scale projects in the battery sector is approaching its limit. Space is not infinite and the era of energy surpluses will soon come to an end, but resources are available to deliver the final blow, says M.r Bolduc.
The industrial and port park of Bécancour, the privileged place by the Legault government to develop the electrical industry, will house BASF and the Posco/General Motors alliance in the manufacture of cathode materials, a key component of the lithium-ion battery.
Players like Nemaska Lithium and Nouveau Monde Graphite have also chosen the location to process essential minerals.
Recently, Bécancour Park, a state-owned company, obtained by decree the rezoning of agricultural land that had been destined for it since 1968. “We had agreed that we would request dezrezoningen a client arrived for that space,” explains the director-general of El Parque, Maurice Richard. This time it is correct. »
The rezoned land is located between Route 261 and the Gentilly River south of the A30.
According to Mr. Richard, the park can accommodate five complexes that need an area of half a million to a million square meters each. Three are retained by projects already announced: Nemaska Lithium, Posco/GM, and BASF.
Since then, former Quebec Prime Minister Philippe Couillard was recently photographed in front of what the BritishVolt company, of which he is a representative in Canada, describes “as the future land of its mega-factory.”
“BritishVolt has an interest in this field,” confirms Mr. Richard
Of the five fields, one remains. “Bécancour remains a potential destination [pour accueillir un cellulier]but it is not the only solution”, agrees Hubert Bolduc.
With Francis Vailles in Montreal, Joël-Denis Bellavance and William Leclerc in Ottawa, Press
- 5 billion
- This is the sum of the investments announced so far in the battery sector by the Legault government.
SOURCE: GOVERNMENT OF QUEBEC
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