This week South Korean EV parts manufacturer, Bobaek America Inc., announced it is bringing a $35-million battery parts plant to the area. Simultaneously, the company is making plans for a phase two expansion of the project. Photo: Vic Fedeli

South Korean parts maker Bobaek America is building a two-phased project in Windsor to make battery insulation panels and cell sheets for EVs

The Windsor-Essex region continues to expand its electric vehicle battery supply chain, with South Korean EV parts manufacturer Bobaek America announcing construction of a $35-million battery parts plant in the Southern Ontario area.

Simultaneously, the company is making plans for a phase two expansion of the project.

The first new facility, spanning 71,000 square feet, will manufacture insulation panels and cell sheets for batteries used in EVs. It is set to be completed by June 2024.

The Ontario government is supporting the project with $1.5 million. The funding comes from the Regional Development Program’s Southwestern Ontario Development Fund.

“Our government continues to build up Ontario’s auto and manufacturing sectors by creating the right conditions to attract multi-national companies,” said Vic Fedeli, minister of economic development, job creation and trade, in a press statement.

“With support from the province’s Regional Development Program, Bobaek’s investment will serve as a critical link in building our end-to-end EV and battery supply chain, affirming Ontario’s position as a leader in building the cars of the future.”

Two-phased project

The first new Bobaek facility is already under construction near Windsor Airport. Initially, it will create 144 jobs but is projected to have a reach far beyond.

“The plant’s output should be able to cover the entire North American market,” said Dongjo Seo, president of Bobaek.

The second phase of Bobaek’s investment involves adding another 71,000-square-feet of manufacturing space to the plant that is under construction. This will require an additional $30 million to build.

When complete, that section of the factory will house pressure moulding and sensor cutting machines, tape assembly, silicon pad cutting and packing automation lines and 3D measuring equipment to produce the insulation panels and cell sheets needed for EV batteries.

The company says the second phase will begin construction in 2025 and create around 70 more jobs.

Windsor EV supply chain cluster

The Windsor-Essex region is already home to some other major players in the EV supply manufacturing and battery supply chain.

Stephen MacKenzie, president and CEO of Invest WindsorEssex, says Bobaek’s arrival “further solidifies our position as a global leader in manufacturing and next-generation vehicle production. This investment adds to the region’s continued growth and economic prosperity.”

Other prominent projects underway in the area include the Stellantis and LG Energy Solutions joint NextStar EV battery plant; South Korea’s DongShin Motech’s battery casing facility to supply the Stellantis-LG Energy Solutions battery plant; and an EV battery R&D facility called the Flex-Ion Battery Innovation Centre, established by American global auto parts manufacturer and supplier Flex-N-Gate.