electric vehicles | Ottawa signs agreements with Volkswagen and Mercedes-Benz

(Toronto) The federal government on Tuesday signed separate deals with Volkswagen and Mercedes-Benz, giving the two German automakers access to Canadian raw materials for electric vehicle batteries.

Posted at 6:33am
Updated at 1:31 p.m

Adena Ali
The Canadian Press

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Chancellor Olaf Scholz attended the signing ceremony in Toronto at an event hosted by the German-Canadian Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

In a statement, Ottawa said, “These partnerships confirm Canada’s position as a center of excellence for electric vehicle and battery manufacturing.”

Businesses include Canadian cobalt, graphite, nickel and lithium.

The Volkswagen agreement focuses on deepening collaboration on sustainable battery manufacturing, production of cathode active materials and critical minerals supply.

The Mercedes-Benz agreement aims to strengthen collaboration with Canadian companies throughout the electric vehicle and battery supply chain and to support the development of a sustainable supply chain for critical minerals in Canada.

“(These agreements) could help fund the development of new mines in Canada, which is beneficial for our mining sector,” said Jackie Przybylowski, mining and metals analyst at BMO, in an interview. Canada generally has an excellent record of sustainable mining. Promoting mining here will potentially provide cleaner and more ethical sources of raw materials for electric vehicles worldwide. »

The deals come a week after US President Joe Biden signed a plan to give tax credits to electric vehicles produced in North America, not just those built in the United States.

They are also tracking a number of committed investments by other electric vehicle manufacturers in the Canadian auto industry.

More than $13 billion was committed in just eight weeks last spring to build the necessary battery supply chains and shift production from internal combustion engines to plug-in vehicles.

This is in addition to an additional $3.5 billion committed over the past four years, including investments to manufacture electric school and transit buses, production and processing of critical minerals used to manufacture batteries and facilities for research and development are needed.

Speaking alongside Mr Scholz on Tuesday with business leaders, Mr Trudeau recognized the strength of Canada’s mining sector and said the country must continue to show it has the natural resources the world needs while showing that its mining industries are not irreconcilable must deal with “progressive values, strong labor laws, concern for neighborhoods and communities” and climate change.

“There is a greater need than ever for critical minerals and rare earth elements, and if we are to demonstrate a cleaner, greener world … we cannot continue to accept that our minerals and inputs to our way of life come from authoritarian countries,” he said.

With information from Lee Berthiaume

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