The Legault government’s goal of attracting companies at every stage of the battery sector is becoming more complex: Britishvolt and StromVolt, which have been hanging cell factory projects for electric vehicle batteries since last year, do not appear to be on the same page. better conditions to make them a reality.
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If the announcements have been numerous since the spring, it will probably be necessary to wait to know if Quebec will end up welcoming a cellier -responsible for the last step of the chain before the assembly of the batteries-.
Britishvolt and StromVolt, seeking financial assistance from the Legault and Trudeau governments, are grappling with different problems. The former is financially weak, while the latter has lost its partner Delta Electronics, which was supposed to provide the rights to its technology and expertise.
Britishvolt’s future even seems compromised just three years after its creation. After delaying the schedule of its initial complex in the UK last August due to high construction costs, the British company is now considering selling its giant plot (93 hectares) in the north of the country, according to Bloomberg.
According to the US agency, InoBat would be among the possible buyers. This Slovak company would study several options, in particular a merger with Britishvolt or an acquisition, to take over the site. The chances of Britishvolt landing in Quebec look increasingly slim and the company is losing influence with the state of Quebec.
” [La crédibilité du] Project [de Britishvolt] He got hit,” he explains. Press a government source who is not authorized to speak in public. “There were serious problems with the company about its financing and its clients. »
Britishvolt does not yet own the land it is interested in in the Bécancour industrial and port park, the place favored by the Legault government to develop the battery sector.
Furthermore, according to information collected by PressHydro-Quebec has not even evaluated Britishvolt’s Quebec project in detail, which would be very energy intensive. At the end of the era of surpluses, the state corporation is more selective when allocating hydroelectric volumes.
“It doesn’t seem to be a priority project in Quebec,” another government source told Press.
As for StromVolt, based in Ontario and run by Quebec businessman Maxime Vidricaire, its plant project appears to have been on hold since last April. In an unnoticed statement, Delta Electronics, a Taiwan-based electronics maker with annual revenues of around $10 billion, announced the end of its deal with StromVolt.
“The reason: the general conditions have not been met, we can read. Both parties have mutually agreed to terminate this agreement. »
This factory project presented in the fall of 2021 fluctuated between 200 and 300 million. The company was open to the possibility of establishing itself outside of Bécancour. We were unable to speak with Mr. Vidricaire on Thursday for further details. In a statement sent to Pressit stated that the “StromVolt project is not abandoned” and that it was “waiting for the right partners”.
“It may still take time before we see it materialize,” said Mr. Vidricaire.
The Legault government’s strategy aims to attract projects at all stages of the battery industry, namely the extraction of resources such as graphite and lithium spodumene, the transformation of materials into quality components for batteries, the manufacture of anodes and cathodes (main component of a battery), cell assembly and battery module manufacturing.
Projects have been announced at almost every stage. Quebec wants to convince a cellulier to settle in Quebec to fill the missing creation. The Britishvolt and StromVolt projects could have played this role.
From exploration to recycling, Quebec estimates that there are nine stages in the battery chain.
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Source: Government of Canada
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