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Honda electric vehicle battery parts plant to open in Niagara Region



A significant development is on the horizon for Ontario’s Niagara Region. Asahi Kasei Corp., a Japanese company, is set to build a $1.6-billion plant in Port Colborne. This facility will produce a crucial component for electric vehicle batteries as part of Honda's supply chain in Ontario.


The announcement comes as Honda is retooling its Alliston, Ontario assembly plant to manufacture fully electric vehicles. This transformation is part of a broader $15-billion initiative to establish a comprehensive supply chain in the province.


Expected to be operational by 2027, the new plant in Port Colborne will produce battery separators. These separators are essential in preventing the anode and cathode from short-circuiting while allowing lithium ions to move freely. Asahi Kasei's president, Koshiro Kudo, explained that after considering Europe and the United States, Canada emerged as an attractive location due to strong support from various levels of government and a skilled workforce.


Prime Minister Justin Trudeau emphasized that Canada's natural resources, clean energy, commitment to climate action, stable democratic institutions, and strong communities make it a prime destination for international investments. However, he noted that the most significant draw is the quality of Canadian workers.


Innovation Minister François-Philippe Champagne assured that maximizing Canadian job opportunities is a priority in discussions with companies like Asahi Kasei. Despite concerns from union leaders and political opponents about job guarantees, Champagne maintained that creating jobs for Canadians is always a key focus.


The overall investment, which includes up to $5 billion in public funds, will benefit from federal and provincial support, including tax credits. Ontario Premier Doug Ford highlighted that this plant, along with other major projects like the NextStar battery plant in Windsor and a Volkswagen facility in St. Thomas, solidifies Ontario's leadership in the electric vehicle industry. 


These developments are part of a broader effort to build an end-to-end electric vehicle supply chain in Ontario, involving collaboration among governments, Indigenous communities, industries, and labor groups.


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