Ford revealed during a media conference call on Tuesday that it plans to retool and transform its Oakville assembly plant in Ontario to prepare for the auto industry’s future. The facility will be renamed the Oakville EV complex to represent its role in the company better.
Ford to build EVs and battery packs at Oakville EV complex
For 14 consecutive years, Ford has remained the top-selling brand in Canada. With the auto industry moving to zero-emission EVs faster than most predicted, the American automaker is shifting its operations in Ontario.
Bev Goodman, president and CEO of Ford Canada, revealed the news during a press conference, saying the automaker is building on its rich heritage in the country.
Ford plans to retool and transform the Oakville assembly plant in Ontario with a $1.8 billion CAD (around $1.3 billion) investment to turn the facility into an electric vehicle and battery pack manufacturing hub.
The transformation is set to begin in the second quarter of 2024 and will take approximately six months to complete. Once complete, the Oakville EV complex will be Ford’s first high-volume facility transformation in North America.
Although Ford has another exciting venture with its BlueOval City complex in West Tenessee, Dave Nowicki, director of manufacturing operations for battery and EVs at Ford Model E, says the transition in Ontario is just as exciting.
Ford says it will bring battery cells and arrays from its $5.6 billion BlueOval City hub to the new Oakville EV complex to streamline production.
By consolidating three body shops into one through more efficient methods, Ford is able to bring battery pack assembly on-site.
With the ability to assemble the battery packs in-house, the packs can arrive at the assembly line within minutes, cutting time and additional costs, according to Ford.
Ford expects the Oakville EV complex to play a key piece as it strives to produce 2 million EVs annually by 2026 while expanding its global manufacturing footprint.
The $1.8 billion CAD (around $1.3 billion) investment is part of Ford’s plans to spend $50 billion USD through 2026 to become a global EV powerhouse.
Between site selection, permitting, and the actual building process, Ford estimates it saved about two years with the transformation process compared to building a new facility, as many EV makers do.
The new Oakville EV complex will help Ford vertically integrate with battery pack assembly and EV production under the same roof.
Although Ford wouldn’t say what “next-generation” EVs will be built at the new hub, Ford has already announced it will build its second electric truck at BlueOval City. And it likely won’t be the new fully electric Ford Explorer as the automaker has dismissed plans of bringing it to the US thus far. Perhaps a new release coming soon?