Automobile

Stellantis eyes Canada for battery plant; forecaster says Brampton a possibility

Stellantis CEO Carlos Tavares says the automaker is considering Canada as home to one of two battery plants the company plans to build in North America, and one forecaster says Brampton, Ont., might be the ideal location.

Tavares put Canada in the running Wednesday during a fireside chat at an Automotive Press Association event in Detroit.

“At least from those two, at least one will be in the U.S., perhaps two, it’s not decided yet,”  Tavares said. “But there is also the option that one of the two will be in Canada.”

While the automaker has not decided on a location for either battery plant, he said Stellantis is in discussions with local North American authorities and technology partners.

“We are already very advanced in those discussions,” Tavares said. “We know exactly what we want to do in terms of technology, in terms of chemistry.”

Sam Fiorani, vice-president of global vehicle forecasting at AutoForecast Solutions LLC, says Stellantis’ Assembly Plant in Brampton, Ont., could become home to a battery plant.

Stellantis has plans to electrify the Dodge Challenger and Dodge Charger muscle cars currently assembled at the plant, Fiorani says electrified versions won’t be built in Ontario and those powered by internal-combustion engines are going to be axed. 

“At the moment, we don’t have any product earmarked there,” he said of Brampton. 

AutoForecast Solutions says Brampton is likely to be without product by 2024.

“But we’re looking for Stellantis to make some sort of investment [there],” Fiorani said. “It could be electric-related. Brampton would make a good place for a battery plant.”

Jerry Dias, national president of Unifor, which represents hourly workers at Brampton Assembly, said his expectation is that the plant will continue to build the Charger and Challenger. 

FCA Canada, the division of Stellantis that operates the factory, said in a statement that it “won’t discuss future products or plans for the Brampton Assembly Plant.”

The company added: “However, as a reminder, the latest collective bargaining agreement [Oct. 2020] included plans to invest $50 million to introduce three new variants of the Dodge Charger and Challenger, and continue production of the Chrysler 300.”

Stellantis also plans to build three battery plants in Europe. 

“Europe is a little bit ahead of North America in terms of electrification,” the CEO said. 

Stellantis, which is a shareholder in French battery maker Automotive Cells Company (ACC), says that company will build one plant in Germany and another in France. 

Stellantis is also in discussions with the Italian government in effort to build a battery factory there.

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