A rendering of Northvolt Six in Quebec
Northvolt confirms its joining Canada’s EV battery manufacturing ecosystem with a 170-hectare, $7-billion, 60 GWh capacity site that will provide 3,000 jobs in the McMasterville and Saint-Basile-le-Grand, Quebec area. Photo: Northvolt

The Swedish battery maker joined the provincial and federal governments in today’s announcement, unveiling details of the planned 60 GWh factory

Northvolt has confirmed its joining Canada’s EV battery manufacturing ecosystem with a 170-hectare, $7-billion, 60 GWh-capacity site that will provide 3,000 jobs in the McMasterville and Saint-Basile-le-Grand, Quebec area.

In a press conference today, the Swedish battery maker confirmed it will build “Northvolt Six” just outside of Montreal. Electric Autonomy exclusively reported that Northvolt was honing in on McMasterville and Saint-Basile-le-Grand in May 2023.

“With its unique access to renewable power and raw materials, we see this as the ideal base of operations for Northvolt’s first gigafactory outside of Europe,” said Northvolt Co-Founder Paolo Cerruti in a press statement.

Cerruti will lead the project as CEO of Northvolt North America, which will also open a head office in Montreal.

Financing the deal

With a multi-billion price tag, Northvolt Six is a substantial investment.

“I am very proud to announce the largest private investment in Quebec’s recent history: a structuring project by Northvolt with a total value of $7 billion,” said François Legault, Premier of Quebec, in a press statement.

“Our vision is beginning to take shape: Québec has become a world leader for the green economy.”

Landing the Northvolt factory required a significant contribution of public funds from multiple layers of government.

“Canada and Quebec have committed to providing Northvolt with production support to match the Inflation Reduction Act’s Advanced Manufacturing Production Credit in the United States, equalling up to US$35 per kWh,” reads information from the federal government.

The equates to $4.6 billion in production incentives, with the Quebec government paying a third.

In addition, the federal government will supply $1.34 billion in capital commitment. The Quebec government will provide $1.37 billion in capital commitment.

A key link in Quebec’s supply chain

Northvolt is not the first overseas battery cell manufacturer to make big promises to Quebec.

In November last year, Britishvolt abandoned plans to build a 60 GWh battery cell factory in Quebec after declaring bankruptcy.

That change of plans left a gaping hole in Quebe’c otherwise robust EV battery supply chain. A gap, it seems, that Northvolt will be filling — and then some.

“This announcement adds the final piece to a strategic industrial sector that will transform Quebec’s economy,” said Pierre Fitzgibbon, Quebec’s minister of Economy, Innovation, and Energy.

Northvolt Six will produce battery cells, components and materials. These include precursor cathode active materials (pCAM), cathode active materials (CAM), lithium-ion battery cells, and lithium-nickel-manganese-cobalt-oxide (NMC) from battery recycling.

Ultimately, Northvolt wants to use at least 50 per cent recycled materials in its battery cell manufacturing process.

Two-phase plan

Northvolt says it will build its new factory in two phases.

The first phase will begin before the end of this year, says Northvolt, with the start of construction beginning. Under phase one, the factory will have an annual output of 30 GWh.

The second phase (for which no time line has been given) will see the factory double output to 60 GWh per year. This translates to enough batteries for over a million vehicles.

In total, it’s estimated the factory will employ over 3,000 people.

“We have in Northvolt Six enormous potential, not only to rapidly expand our ability to bring sustainable batteries into markets of North America, but to accelerate Quebec’s emergence as a key actor in the global energy transition,” said Cerruti.