The Canadian government and two of the most prominent European automakers have announced “historic partnerships” in the form of memoranda of understanding meant to cement relationships in the context of raw material extraction, production, and the automotive life cycle, all the way to recycling. The agreements were a result of a recent visit by François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry to Germany in May, where he met with key business and industry leaders to “strongly communicate Canada’s automotive value proposition and reiterate our credentials as a sustainable and reliable partner.”
The agreements are in the form of memoranda of understanding with Volkswagen AG and Mercedes-Benz AG.
“Canada is quickly becoming the green supplier of choice for major auto companies, including leading European manufacturers, as we transition to a cleaner, greener future,” said Champagne. “By partnering with Mercedes-Benz, Canada is strengthening its leadership role as a world class automotive innovation ecosystem for clean transportation solutions. Canada is committed to building a strong and reliable automotive and battery supply chain here in North America to help the world meet global climate goals.”
The Mercedes-Benz Group AG and the Government of Canada’s Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) commits to explore deeper cooperation across all stages of the automotive value chain—from technical development and the extraction of raw materials, to production, service life and recycling.
“Mercedes-Benz is looking to open new ways to responsibly acquire raw materials to rapidly scale up electric vehicle production,” said Markus Schaefer, Member of the Board of Management of Mercedes-Benz Group AG, Chief Technology Officer, responsible for Research & Development and Procurement.
“Securing direct access to new primary and sustainable sources of raw materials is a vital step down this road. With Canada, Mercedes-Benz has a strong and capable partner to break new ground for a new era of sustainable transformation in the automotive industry.”
The Volkswagen agreement focuses on deepening cooperation on sustainable battery manufacturing, cathode active material production and critical mineral supply, among others, and on setting up a Canadian office for PowerCo, Volkswagen’s newly formed battery company.
“Volkswagen has been vigorously pushing the transformation to e-mobility, recognizing the industry’s responsibility in the global battle against climate change,” said Dr. Herbert Diess, CEO of Volkswagen Group. “The Group today not only offers the broadest range of electric models to customers but also is rolling out an ambitious battery and charging strategy.
“Working hand in hand with governments around the world is an absolute prerequisite to meet our climate goals, and I want to thank the Canadian government for its support. The supply of battery raw materials and the production of precursor and cathode materials with a low carbon footprint will allow for a fast and sustainable ramp-up of battery capacity—a key lever for our growth strategy in North America.”