A rendering of the new Oakville Electric Vehicle Complex. Photo: Ford Canada

The automaker has finally disclosed details of its plan, first announced in 2020, to retool its Oakville facility to produce EVs — including battery pack assembly

Ford Motor Co. is spending $1.8 billion to transition its Oakville, Ont., auto assembly plant into a “high-volume” EV manufacturing hub. Construction will start in 2024 and vehicle production will begin in 2025, the automaker says.

In an announcement this week, the company gave more shape to the retooling investment it originally announced in 2020. For starters, the Ford plant in Oakville will get a new name: the Oakville Electric Vehicle Complex.

“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,” said Bev Goodman, president and CEO, Ford of Canada, in a statement.

“[T]he 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.”

Roadmap for retooling

The Oakville Ford plant sits on just over 487 acres, 40 kilometres west of Toronto, within view of Lake Ontario.

It currently contains three body shops, one paint building and one assembly building and employs roughly 3,000 people.

After the remodel, the plant will also be home to a 407,000-square-foot battery pack assembly plant. The battery cells and arrays assembled in Oakville will come from BlueOval SK Battery Park in Kentucky, says Ford.

There is no information on how many new jobs the factory overhaul will yield or what EVs it will manufacture. Previous reporting by Electric Autonomy in 2020 indicated that at least five EVs will be made in Oakville. However, more recent unconfirmed reports suggest it might be less.

“Ford’s commitment to invest in OAC retooling and upskilling signals a bright future for Canadian EV production and for Canadian auto sector employment,” said Lana Payne, Unifor National’s president, in this week’s announcement. 

Ford also announced it will build a lithium iron phosphate battery plant in Marshall, Mich., with production starting in 2026. As well the company is working on retooling or new builds of facilities in the United States and Europe.

“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,” reads a statement from Ford president and CEO, Jim Farley.

“I’m most excited for the world to see the incredible next-generation electric and fully digitally connected vehicles produced in Oakville.”