British Volt Factory | Big ambitions can be realized in Bikankur

Britishvolt is thinking big about a factory of lithium-ion cells, the staple of an electric car battery, that it wants to build in Quebec — a project the Legault government has deemed serious. According to the information he obtained JournalismThe industrial zone and the port of Bikankur is the privileged location to accommodate the complex.


Julian Arsenault

Julian Arsenault
Journalism

The British company, founded in 2019, on a site with a capacity of up to 60 gigawatt-hours (GWh) – making it possible to supply around 170,000 heavy electric trucks annually – is counting on research and development as well as an anode and cathode processing facility.

“The goal is to move forward with as much vertical integration as possible with the lowest carbon footprint possible,” a source familiar with the matter, but not authorized to speak publicly, explained.

Last April, Britishvolt set up a Canadian subsidiary headed by former Quebec Prime Minister Philippe Couillard. The latter and four other representatives of the British company were registered in the lobbyists’ registry in order to obtain financial support. The targeted interlocutors are Investissement Québec, the financial arm of the Quebec government, the Ministry of Economy and Innovation as well as Hydro-Quebec.

According to the Registraire des entreprises, the address of Britishvolt Canada is identical to that of the Dentons law firm, located on Place Ville Marie, of which Mr. Couillard is among its ranks.

The English company’s interest comes at a time when Legault’s government plans to invest $1-2 billion over the next two to three years to accelerate the development of the battery sector, from the mine to the battery unit. This should be accompanied by private investments of 4-6 billion.

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Investissement Québec had already confirmed talks with Britishvolt. Discussions, which Legault’s government now regarded as serious, continued to progress.

“They do things we don’t have and we’re trying to attract them,” a government source said. Journalism.

Britishvolt Canada is also on the federal government’s register of lobbyists for support. This is most likely a billionaire project.

In the UK, the company has begun building a 30 gigawatt-hour complex, at an estimated cost of £2.6 billion (about $4.5 billion). It is backed by the British branch of the German giant Siemens.

Production will start in the fourth quarter of 2023. This project will be divided into three phases of 10 GWh. There is reason to believe that a similar path will be followed in Quebec.

to me JournalismAccording to two sources, the 60 GWh target for the Britishvolt complex in Quebec is ambitious.

Many attractions

Britishvolt has not provided details of the location of its aspiring site in Quebec, but it wants its plant to be near a deep-water port and access to the rail network. The cells will take the road to Ontario, where the car manufacturers are, initially.

The company also wants it to be powered by a renewable energy source. Bécancour Industrial Park and Port, owned by the regional Crown company, has all of these criteria. If Britishvolt says it has more than one location, then this industrial park located in Centre-du-Québec is the preferred choice, according to our information.

Photo provided by SOCIÉTÉ DU PARC INDUSTRIEL ET PORTUAIRE DE BÉCANCOUR

The industrial complex and the port of Bécancour in particular provide access to the deep-water port as well as rail facilities, elements that Britishvolt sought.

Quebec has an advantage to attract manufacturers of lithium-ion cells: hydroelectricity, which allows companies to reduce carbon emissions.

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Nouveau Monde Graphite and Nemaska ​​Lithium, two converters in the lithium-ion battery sector, announced their intention to build plants in the industrial zone and the port of Becancourt. So Britishvolt won’t be in uncharted territory.

Currently, lithium-ion battery cells are mainly sourced from China. However, factories are under construction in Europe. In North America, Quebec, whose subsoil is filled with minerals that are essential in battery manufacturing, such as lithium, nickel and graphite, is aiming to position itself in the transportation electrification sector.

competing project

Last Tuesday, Ontario-based StromVolt, led by Quebecer Maxime Vidricaire, unveiled a deal with Asian giant Delta Electronics to help it move forward with a lithium-ion cell plant project.

This is a competing proposal to the Britishvolt proposal. These two companies aim to be the leading cell manufacturing company on Quebec soil.

For its part, Compagnie Électrique Lion, a manufacturer of buses and trucks, has chosen to set up a battery filling plant in Mirabel to supply its vehicles.

Despite this new location, the Saint-Jérôme-based company expects to continue purchasing cells from foreign manufacturers, particularly in China.

2035

The year when the sale of new petrol cars will be banned in Canada. So the demand for electric cars will continue to grow.

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