Timelines fluid for return of WAP third shift, but some retooling to start in 2023
It's been a good couple of months for Windsor-Essex and Stellantis when it comes to significant investments.
First the nearly $5-billion dollar electric vehicle battery plant announced by LG Energy Solution and Stellantis in March, and then this week's announcement about retooling the Windsor Assembly Plant and building two new research and development centres.
Speaking on AM800's the Morning Drive, Stellantis Canada President and CEO Dave Buckingham says while the timelines are fluid some retooling is expected to begin in 2023.
"Production is very critical, so we're going to have to manage a massive retooling to do a multi energy vehicle architecture and continue building the current generation as well because we've got an order book that is extremely healthy for demand in both the US and in Canada," he said.
Buckingham says the next steps in moving further towards electric vehicles aren't just about building the vehicles themselves, but the supporting infrastructure.
"Our message to both levels of government is we're going to infrastructure, we're going to need charging stations, we're going to need investments," he continued. "The federal government recently announced a change to their iZEV program which is a nationwide rebate program for electric vehicles, they just brought the cap up a little bit which is extremely helpful."
He couldn't shed any light on what might be built at the Windsor Assembly Plant as part of a future announcement, but says they're just not quite ready.
"I think it's going to be still some time before we announce that. We're very excited though for full multi-energy vehicles, but we'll continue with the current lineup. Because our stated goal is very aggressive, which is 50 per cent of battery electric vehicle sales by the end of the decade."
Buckingham says they have a lot to do to hit their goals, but they'll see shovels in the ground for the battery plant starting early next year which is exciting.
Additionally they've already started the process of hiring battery engineers, and other engineers, as part of the jobs created through the two R&D centres being built in Windsor.
- with files from AM800's The Morning Drive