Ford display at the New York Auto Show, April 6, 2023.
Scott Mlyn | CNBC
DETROIT – Ford Motor will invest 1.8 billion Canadian dollars (about $1.3 billion) in its Oakville Assembly Plant in Ontario, Canada, to transition the facility into a new electric vehicle hub, the automaker said Tuesday.
The plant, which will be renamed the Oakville Electric Vehicle Complex, will build the company’s next-generation EVs that are expected to arrive to market around mid-decade. The retooling is expected to take six months and begin in the second quarter of next year, Ford said.
“We’re reusing all of its infrastructure, from the land itself to the buildings and even its roads to quickly prepare for a new generation of manufacturing,” said Dave Nowicki, director of EV manufacturing at the automaker, during a media call.
Ford declined to disclose the plant’s expected production capacity or how many electric vehicle models the retooled facility will build. When the automaker initially agreed to the investment deal with Canadian auto union Unifor in 2020, the plant was expected to produce five EV models. However, those plans may have been scaled back to two vehicles, according to Automotive News.
The changes to the Oakville complex will include combining three body shops into one and adding battery pack assembly, Ford said. The facility will use cells from a battery plant that’s currently under construction in Kentucky.
The Oakville complex will be the company’s first time completely retooling a North American facility producing gas-powered vehicles into one that manufactures EVs. It has previously retooled parts of plants, built onto existing plants or announced new production facilities for EVs.
The Oakville plant will continue to build the gas-powered Ford Edge and Lincoln Nautilus crossovers up until the plant’s downtime next year. A company spokesman declined to disclose its production plans for those vehicles after the investment is completed.
The investment is part of Ford’s plan to have production capacity for 2 million EVs globally by the end of 2026.