Ontario auto factories get $1 billion in subsidy to build electric cars

On the eve of Ontario’s June 2 election call, Chrysler and Dodge plants in Brampton and Windsor are getting a $1 billion injection from the federal and provincial governments to build the next generation of hybrid and electric vehicles.

The money from the automakers’ parent company, Stellantis, is going toward flex-car assembly lines as the 3,000-employee Brampton plant has been preparing to lose production of muscle cars like the V-8 Dodge Challenger to a plant in Illinois, where new electric versions will be made.

“I wanted a solution for Brampton and we got a solution,” Fran├žois-Philippe Champagne, the federal minister for science, innovation and technology, told The Star in an interview on Monday.

Flexible lines mean that the Windsor and Brampton plants will be able to build conventional, hybrid and electric cars at the same time, with electric vehicles (EVs) expected to make up an increasing proportion in the coming years. The move is expected to create thousands of jobs in the shift away from internal combustion engines to combat climate change.

Premier Doug Ford’s Progressive Conservatives hope the announcement – which comes just weeks after unveiling plans to build a new $5 billion Stellantis EV battery plant – will help them secure support in three rounds in Windsor and three more in Brampton.

Ford has described the latest investment as “a huge win for workers and communities across this province” in auto parts plants that will continue to fuel its massive assembly plants, along with the mineral resources in northwest Ontario’s “Ring of Fire” needed to make EV batteries.

“Ontario has everything it needs to be the powerhouse of North American auto manufacturing once again,” the premier said in a statement. “We’re doing this and ensuring that the cars of the future are made in Ontario by Ontario workers.”

Champagne That the timing of the announcement is so close to calling the official provincial elections on Wednesday is a coincidence.

“It’s not about politics,” he told the star from Windsor, where Chrysler and Dodge minivans are produced. “It’s about the workers. When you can get one of these deals, you do it.”

Stellantis is investing $3.4 billion in retrofitting manufacturers and related research and development facilities, with the federal government contributing up to $529 million and Ontario $513 million.

Opposition parties said Ford saw a surprise pre-election shift to electric car benefits after eliminating customer purchase subsidies and removing some charging stations after taking power in 2018.

Ontario’s liberal leader Stephen Del Duca said he welcomes Stellantis’ investment and help from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government because there has been no “meaningful growth in manufacturing jobs” under Ford.

“The prime minister rules, Doug Ford is campaigning,” said Del Duca, who hopes to lead the Liberals back after they lost official party standing in Ford’s 2018 sweep, which cost Del Duca his seat at Vaughan Woodbridge. .

The New Democrats led by Andrea Horwath also welcomed the Stellantis investment while they took the shots at the PC government.

“Ford governors have reneged on promise after promise to reduce pollution, shredding electric car charging stations and eliminating incentives to buy electric cars rather than ensuring that all Ontarians, not just the wealthy, can buy an electric car,” the party said in a statement.

In recent months, the county government has announced more charging stations, such as ONroute service centers along Highway 401.

Ford has repeatedly refused to reintroduce incentives for the purchase of electric vehicles. The NDP said it will offer incentives of up to $10,000 to customers who purchase non-luxury electric vehicles. The Liberals and the Greens also promise subsidies.

Files from Robert Benzie

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