With the help of funding from the Canadian government, Ford Motor Co. and its South Korean partners are building a 280,000-square-metre manufacturing plant for electric vehicle battery material in Bécancour, Quebec, according to an announcement from the company last week.

The Quebec and federal governments are covering about half the cost, each putting up $322m for the project which they have described as ‘good for the environment and the economy’. Once operational in 2026, the plant will create 345 jobs.

Ford said the site (a cathode materials facility) is the company’s first investment in the province and that it will help build the regional electric vehicle ecosystem.

“We’re excited to invest in this new facility to create a vertically integrated, closed-loop battery manufacturing supply chain in North America,” said Ford’s Canada chief executive Bev Goodman.

Meanwhile, Canada’s industry minister François-Philippe Champagne, said that: “This investment shows once again that Canada is the green strategic partner of choice for global leaders in the automotive industry.”

Canada has seen a wave of investments in the electric vehicle transition as governments boost incentives and compete for investments.

Ford committed $1.8bn in 2020 to transition their Oakville, Ontario, plant to produce electric vehicles, while overall electric vehicle-related commitments across Canada in the past three years have topped $25bn, according to Unifor.

Government support for battery plants, including from Volkswagen, has led some critics to call out the size of the subsidies, which often run north of $10bn each as Canada tries to match the generous incentives being offered in the US.

Battery plant subsidies are tied to how much the factories produce and wind down over time, as governments look to incentivise the huge and rapid buildup in capacity needed to transition to an electric-based automotive sector.