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Home World Canada can build an electric vehicle industry worth $48B a year — but it must act now: report

Canada can build an electric vehicle industry worth $48B a year — but it must act now: report

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As climate change shows the increasing destructive power of floods and droughts around the world, even those who strongly advocate the shift from using fossil fuels to battery-powered electric vehicles believe that EVs alone will not solve the problem. is inadequate.

But as the North American auto shows kick off with great fanfare, a new report from two reputable Canadian research groups shows that Canada has a multi-billion-dollar-a-year industry to make it more climate-friendly. You have a short window to become a major player in transformation. — and making money doing it.

Not only that, but the report suggests there is an opportunity for Canada to break its long tradition of exporting minerals and raw materials into high-value commodities for other countries. Instead, building a domestic electric vehicle supply her chain gives the country an opportunity to get to the bottom and create a large, profitable domestic industry.

all ingredients

“Canada has all the right ingredients to become a battery powerhouse,” says Evan Pivnick of Clean Energy Canada, one of the authors of the new report. “But it is critical that Canada act quickly and decisively, or it risks wasting thousands of jobs and billions of dollars.”

Pivnick Group, an energy and economics think tank based at Simon Fraser University in British Columbia, has partnered with Ontario-based Trillium Network for Advanced Manufacturing to produce the following report: did. Canada’s new economic engine.

The reason for the urgency, according to the report’s authors, is that after a false start, Kicked Canadian auto industry out of U.S. plans, starting new trade warthe Biden administration has instead issued a revised plan that takes into account the consolidated nature of North American auto manufacturing.

Watch: US extends tax credit to EVs built across North America

US EV Tax Credit Helps Canada’s Auto Sector

Canadian automakers breathe a sigh of relief after US climate legislation that would expand sales tax exemptions for US-made electric vehicles to include North American-produced EVs, batteries and vital minerals I got

According to Brendan Sweeney, who has spent decades researching the Canadian automotive sector, the industry is currently moving from an existential threat to a fantastic new opportunity. The country has not only established manufacturing of auto parts and assemblies, but also uniquely has the essential ingredients for creating a new battery infrastructure.

in a statement by Stellantis and LG Energy at Windsor battery manufacturing plant, Canada has another important part of the industry. However, Canada may have two or three more such operations by the end of the decade, but that is not Canada’s greatest advantage.

“Where we truly see opportunities that are unique to Canada [is to] We’re building something that doesn’t exist, called an integrated battery materials industry,” Sweeney, managing director of the Trillium Network for Advanced Manufacturing, said in a telephone interview this week.

democratic exception

“Canada is the only democratically governed country in the world that has all the minerals needed to support a comprehensive EV supply chain,” he said. In a troubled world, it matters.

A key vision of the plan, outlined in the report, is for Canada to become not just a source of raw materials for export to factories in China, Germany, or Arizona, but an entire industry.

Like former Prime Minister John Diefenbaker, obviously government licensing and transportation links road to resources You will need a plan for extracting important minerals. But a second critical step, the report’s authors say, is to develop an overall industrial strategy he hasn’t seen in Canada since the 1960s.

Three levels of government and industry leaders participated to announce the location of Canada’s first EV battery factory in Windsor. A new report suggests Canada could become a bigger player in the burgeoning EV industry. (Mike Evans/CBC)

“We have to avoid the mistakes we’ve made for 150 years,” Sweeney said. And these errors include what Canada’s economic historians call the “staple trade,” in which Canada exported wheat, fish, and iron and turned them into high-value commodities.

Instead, it aims to create high-value battery components, modeled after the Canadian fertilizer and food processing industry, and the traditional automotive industry itself.

“We turn Canadian mined minerals and metals into highly value-added cathode active materials, anode materials and electrolytes. [the solution inside batteries]’ said Sweeney with a certain enthusiasm. ‘We’re doing it in Canada.

Seed funding and planning required

According to the report, Canada’s proficiency in vehicle assembly, parts business, battery manufacturing and mining, combined with the expansion of the country’s existing battery materials expertise, makes Canada ideally positioned to become a world leader. , generating an estimated $48 billion in economic impact annually and hundreds of thousands of jobs across the country.

The plan will require billions of dollars in initial federal and state funding, but most importantly, a thoughtful industrial strategy of the type developed by other industrial powerhouses like Germany. is to become player.

Melan Smith, Chief Innovation Officer, Clean Energy Canada, said: “We need to ensure that mining is done in the most environmentally and socially sound way and with clean electricity.”

Nickel ore in Indonesia. Canada is the only democracy with all the minerals needed for batteries, which adds value, according to Wednesday’s report. (Yusuf Ahmad/Reuters)

Having 80% of the country’s electricity generated carbon-free is another way Canada has an edge, allowing not only manufacturing but also the minerals and components themselves to be nearly carbon-free. to She compares it to China, the world’s largest producer of batteries and EVs.

As Smith said, cars are just one part of a global battery market expected to be worth at least US$360 billion by 2030. She said Canada could rank among the top five in her chain of battery supplies and needs to grow further. .

According to the International Energy Agency, by 2040, demand for battery minerals is expected to grow 30-fold, not just in EVs, but in storage and other applications.

“Batteries will be central to this new clean energy system,” she said. “Batteries are at the heart of the power grid, lighting up homes and warming offices and her spaces.”

And she said the center is where Canada needs it.

Follow Don on Twitter @don_pittis

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