Auto expert calls for development of electric vehicle ecosystem

“As a nation that aspires to be a leader in high-value advanced technology manufacturing, Canada needs to find opportunities to add value to our natural resources and build the highest-value parts of the future car,” which is exactly what the recent decision by Stellantis and LG Energy to build a large-scale electric vehicle battery plant in Windsor does, says Peter Frise.

An engineering professor and director of the Centre for Automotive Research and Education, he argues for a complete auto ecosystem that brings together research and development, materials, parts and assembly in an article published Monday in The Globe and Mail.

Locations of powertrain and battery-making facilities indicate a clear signal of investment in a region and the recent announcement of General Motors stake in Quebec mines signify a bright future for battery-making materials and further solidify commitment in Canada.

Propulsion batteries amount to as much as half of the cost of an electric vehicle, Dr. Frise notes, citing the expense of mining the raw materials; the complexity of ensuring safe, dependable, peak performance; and poor economies of scale.

“Costs are coming down, but until we can produce critical EV battery-making materials in North America and unless we can achieve economies of scale by increasing EV sales and standardizing battery formats, EV batteries are likely to remain expensive,” Frise writes. “That’s why the battery plant and battery-materials factory are so important to the future of the automotive industry in Canada.”

Read the entire piece, “Why securing plants to build pricey EV batteries is crucial for the auto sector’s survival” in The Globe and Mail.