Automotive News Canada - April 2023 - 18

18
* APRIL 2023
Expect a bevy of
batteries at VW plant
The strategy is for
a variety of types,
forecast for at least five
high-volume vehicles
By DAVID KENNEDY
T ORONTO BUREAU CHIEF
VOLKSWAGEN GROUP'S FIRST
North American battery-cell plant is
poised to build manganese-rich lithium-ion
cells as part of a tiered battery
strategy for a broad lineup of electric
vehicles, say analysts at U.S.-based
AutoForecast Solutions (AFS).
Sam Fiorani, vice-president of global
vehicle forecasting at AFS, expects
the Canadian plant, announced for
St. Thomas, Ont., to
supply batteries for
at least five high-volume
models across
the Volkswagen,
Audi and Scout
Motors range by 2030.
The automaker
announced plans
for its first major
Canadian investment
March 13 but provided
no specifics about
the plant's capacity,
the technology it
will use or the scale
of the investment.
VW and its in-house
battery subsidiary,
PowerCo, are expected
to lay out further
details in the coming
weeks at an event in
St. Thomas, midway
between Toronto and
Windsor.
Fiorani: The
Volkswagen
Group
plant in St.
Thomas,
Ont., will
likely build
batteries for
at least five
high-volume
vehicles.
FILE PHOTO
In the interim,
the company would
not comment on its
product plans or provide
details about the
Ontario plant.
But Conrad
Layson, a senior
alternative-propulsion
analyst at AFS,
said the three-tier
battery strategy that
VW first shared in
2021, along with its
partnership with
the Belgium-based
materials company
Umicore, point to
production of manTHREE
CHEMISTRIES
Volkswagen laid out a battery
road map in 2021, specifying three
battery types for different uses.
* Entry vehicles: Iron phosphate
* Volume vehicles: High manganese
* Performance vehicles and those
that require " specific solutions " :
Nickel manganese cobalt
The approach will create a tiered
battery offering, letting customers
prioritize a lower cost or a longer
range. Volkswagen said it plans to
use LFP for the battery packs in its
entry-level models, manganese-rich
cells for high-volume variants and
pricier NMC cells for performance
vehicles and others that require " specific
solutions. "
The company would not comment
on what type or types of cells would
be produced in St. Thomas. VW's
budding partnership with Umicore,
however, points to manganese-rich
cells.
In July, Umicore announced
plans to build a precursor and cathode
active materials (CAM) plant in
Loyalist Township, near Kingston,
Ont., midway between Toronto and
Montreal.
Since then, it has signed a pair
of agreements with VW's battery
unit. One is a joint venture to produce
CAM alongside PowerCo in
Europe. The other, which remains
nonbinding, extends this partnership
to North America, establishing
PowerCo as an " important customer "
for Umicore's eastern Ontario plant,
Umicore said in December.
Layson:
Volkswagen's
strategy
suggests
Ontario
production of
manganese
-rich
batteries,
which cost
less that
batteries that
use cobalt.
FILE PHOTO
ganese-rich batteries. The specific
chemical composition is unclear.
Automotive experimentation with
high-manganese batteries has been
urgent in recent years, Layson said,
as they can be built at lower cost
than the nickel manganese cobalt
(NMC) batteries used in most North
American EVs today. Manganese-rich
chemistries also offer greater range
than the lithium iron phosphate
(LFP) batteries that are common in
China and gaining popularity elsewhere.
TIERED
BATTERY OFFERING
At its 2021 Power Day, Volkswagen
laid out a battery road map built
around a " unified " cell platform.
Each of the company's batteries will
use the same physical case, helping
cut costs, but the cathode chemistry
will vary, VW said.
MANGANESE MEANS RANGE
At the same time, Umicore has
been completing plans to push manganese-rich
battery materials into
production by 2026.
A company spokeswoman said the
" high-lithium, manganese " product,
which Umicore calls HLM, is 25 per
cent more energy-dense than LFP,
which translates into superior vehicle
range. The company also sees a
10-per-cent cost advantage for HLM
over " non-Chinese production " of
LFP, she said.
In February, Umicore said it
expects to produce HLM at its new
Canadian plant. This would not necessarily
preclude it from also producing
NCM cathode material, as the
company said both can be produced
at the same plant.
PowerCo plans to begin producing
its unified cells at St. Thomas in 2027.
Volkswagen Group vehicles to
receive batteries from the St. Thomas
plant include a Scout-branded pickup
and an SUV to be built at a newly
announced assembly plant in South
Carolina, and at least two models in
Volkswagen's ID lineup to be built
in Chattanooga, Tenn., Fiorani said.
A new North American Audi plant
that will produce a battery-electric
version of the Q5 as well as another
upcoming model is also likely, he
added.
AFS forecasts that by 2030 the
three Volkswagen brands will produce
320,000 battery-electric vehicles
per year in North America. - ANC
Cadillac's EV ambitions
'not a task for the faint'
Brand leader in
Canada lauds
dealer investments,
the Lyriq EV and
the lineup to come
By GRACE MACALUSO
MANAGING EDITOR
PREPARING CADILLAC
dealerships for the electricvehicle
era has been a " huge
initiative, " said Mike
Speranzini, the brand's managing
director in Canada.
" There's training that's
required; and it's training
sales consultants,
it's
training technicians, "
he
said in the
March 17
Automotive
News Canada
Podcast. " But
it's also ensuring
that the
dealerships
are ready to
have electric
SCAN
TO LISTEN
Speranzini: Cadillac
dealers have made
vehicles in them. "
Speranzini became director
in December, coming
from a previous post as
director of connected products
and services at GM
Canada.
The dealership upgrades
started before Cadillac
began building EVs to
ensure that dealers were
ready to service the vehicles,
said Speranzini, adding
that retailers faced challenges.
" I've
seen dealers need to
work with their
local utility companies,
invest in
large infrastructure
upgrades,
having to dig
trenches in their
lots to get cables, run new
panels in the dealership
and new chargers installed
everywhere.
" So, it was not a task for
the faint. It's a significant
financial investment that
our dealers have made. "
In 2020, Cadillac offered to
buy out dealers in Canada
and the United States who
did not want to sell EVs.
The company, a division of
General Motors, declined
to disclose the number of
Cadillac dealers in Canada
accepting buyouts or the size
of investments its 119 retailers
made in their stores.
It did say EVs " require
a unique set of education,
training and tools, and we
are working with our dealer
network to prepare them for
Lyriq and beyond. "
Cadillac began selling
the Lyriq crossover - the
brand's first battery-electric
vehicle - in January,
Speranzini said.
He discussed a range of
issues facing the industry in
the podcast, which has been
" a significant financial
investment " to prepare for
the era of EV retailing.
SUPPLIED PHOTO
transcribed and edited for
clarity.
WHAT CHANGES ARE IN STORE
FOR THE 2024 LYRIQ?
We are adding five new
exterior colours for Lyriq. In
2024, there is a black-paintedroof
option that looks truly
spectacular, the way it contrasts
to the painted body
of the vehicle; a panoramic
power opening sunroof;
5G Wi-Fi connectivity; and
more. So, lots of enhancements
coming to provide our
customers with the choices
that they're looking for as we
ramp up production.
CADILLAC SALES HAVE
INCREASED OVER THE PAST
THREE YEARS. TO WHAT DO YOU
ATTRIBUTE THE GROWTH?
First and foremost, I
think Cadillac has the right
product for the Canadian
consumer regardless of
what section of the luxury
market you're in, from
small SUV to medium-sized
SUVs; the large Escalade; as
well as our great cars, the
CT4 and the CT5. We've got
sales momentum. And that
has our dealers energized;
recommitting to the Cadillac
brand; being very excited
about Cadillac's future;
investing in new facilities;
investing in sales, training;
investing in customer experiences;
and focusing their
efforts to drive business
from coast to coast.
HAS THE LYRIQ SET THE
TEMPLATE FOR FUTURE
ELECTRIFIED VEHICLES?
Our Ultium platform provides
the key foundation for
the Lyriq as well as other
Cadillac vehicles and within
the company's overall
Cadillac began selling the Lyriq, its first battery-electric
vehicle, in January and already has " lots of
enhancements " in the pipeline, said Mike Speranzini,
the brand's manager in Canada. PHOTO: CADILLAC
portfolio. One of the benefits
of the Ultium batteries is
that designers can reconfigure
them. They can design
the vehicle to meet the customer's
needs and not have
to design around batteries
but distribute the batteries
to get a great 50-50 weight
distribution in the vehicle,
which results in great ride
and handling. That's going
to look as great as the Lyriq
does for our customers. So it
has been taking all of those
learnings and applying them
to the next vehicles that
we're soon to be announcing
for Cadillac as well as other
[GM] vehicles.
WHAT DOES THE XT4 HAVE
TO BEAT RIVALS IN THE
COMPETITIVE SUBCOMPACT
LUXURY SUV SEGMENT?
The XT4 is our highest-volume
Cadillac. I think we
win because we offer a luxury
choice that represents
great value to consumers.
As we look ahead toward
the 2024 model, the enhancements
start on the outside of
the vehicle. Exterior design
improvements will make
it look fresh and in harmony
with Cadillac's overall
design themes. You'll also
see new alloy wheel options.
Technology updates include
active safety systems, available
Super Cruise technology,
new 5G connectivity as
well as programmable ambient
lighting that allows customers
to change the theme
or the mood according to
their preference.
HOW IMPORTANT IS THE ONEON-ONE
INTERACTION BETWEEN
THE DRIVER AND VEHICLE IN THE
LUXURY SEGMENT?
One of the questions I
ask is how does a vehicle
make you feel? And what
Cadillac, with its iconic
design and styling, does is
make our luxury customers
feel great. Its design intent
is that great experience, a
lot more luxurious, and the
refinement of the features
and the technology and the
sound system, the seat surfaces
and how every little
button and knob feels when
you are interacting with the
vehicle. - ANC
- With files from
Automotive News Canada
Publisher Tim Dimopoulos

Automotive News Canada - April 2023

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Automotive News Canada - April 2023

Automotive News Canada - April 2023 - Intro
Automotive News Canada - April 2023 - CT1
Automotive News Canada - April 2023 - CT2
Automotive News Canada - April 2023 - 1
Automotive News Canada - April 2023 - 2
Automotive News Canada - April 2023 - 3
Automotive News Canada - April 2023 - 4
Automotive News Canada - April 2023 - 5
Automotive News Canada - April 2023 - 6
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Automotive News Canada - April 2023 - 9
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Automotive News Canada - April 2023 - 16
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Automotive News Canada - April 2023 - 18
Automotive News Canada - April 2023 - 19
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Automotive News Canada - April 2023 - 33
Automotive News Canada - April 2023 - 34
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