Windsor-Essex Bidding on Battery Plant that could Bring Thousands of Jobs


Local business leaders are wooing a big plant that could bring thousands of jobs to the region.

The Windsor-Essex Economic Development Corporation submitted a proposal this week for the plant that would make batteries for electric vehicles.

Stephen MacKenzie is Executive Director of the Windsor-Essex Economic Development Corporation.

He says they're in advanced stages of discussions with an international battery manufacturer for electric vehicles that is looking to locate a North American operation that would involve an investment of about $2-billion creating 2,000 jobs.

MacKenzie offers up a note of caution that the location is not decided yet, but the company is narrowing its sites with the competition outside our border.

"Primarily the U.S. and Mexico. To our knowledge they are not exploring or investigating any other regions in the province or the country."

He says it's no accident we're under consideration in Windsor-Essex.

"Our regional strength in the automotive automation industry, but also our bi-national strength with the Windsor-Detroit bi-national region and our proven, over the last 27 years, integrated supply chain with the auto industry between Mexico, Canada and the U.S."

MacKenzie says a sticking point is the cost of electricity in Ontario — he says it's more than Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania and even Quebec, but companies look at the total structure in the end.

"The winning region isn't the one that finishes first in everything, but you have to be competitive on a lot of other factors that go into the decision and then hopefully those offset the more expensive factors like electricity. And that's the process we're going through right now."

MacKenzie says they've had excellent discussions with the Ontario government which has been helpful, as well as the Federal government.

He says they're putting forward a powerful business case that involves all levels of government and resources and eventually incentives.