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$35-million manufacturing investment announced in Windsor

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The Ontario government announced a $35-million investment to build a new manufacturing facility in Windsor, specializing in battery insulation panels and cell sheets for electric vehicles.

The provincial minister of economic development, job creation and trade welcomed Korean EV parts manufacturer Bobaek America Inc. to the Windsor on Monday.

“Today we celebrate your investment here in Ontario,” Vic Fedeli said before announcing the provincial government is providing $1.5 million in funding to help support investment. “We've got the talent. We've got a 100 per cent clean energy in certain areas — 94 per cent clean energy in the province.”

With clients in Michigan and Ohio, the Windsor location will help the company expand and capitalize on the 11 battery plants settling in within a 300 km radius of the city.

“Now it's very easier for us to expand our client spectrum,” said company president Dondjo Seo through his interpreter Max Jung.

Invest Windsor-Essex CEO Stephen MacKenzie says Bobaek is an example of other opportunities in the pipeline.

“The Stellantis/Nexstar plant attracted them here and got us on their radar but that overall binational growth is an incredible benefit,” he said.

Their new 71,000 square-foot plant on Wheelton Drive near the airport is expected to be operational in June of next year and will produce battery insulation panels and cell sheets for electric vehicles. The plant brings with it an initial 144 new jobs.

“LG told us in a conversation after they announced the battery factory and 2,500 jobs, they said get ready because there's probably at least 1,500 other jobs in the supply chain that will follow us, and then there's the economic impact that comes, the multiplier that comes from all of those positions as well,” said Windsor Mayor Drew Dilkens.

The EV space is moving at such a high rate of speed the company acknowledged phase 2 is already being planned. The $30 million investment calls for a 71,000 square-foot addition to the south of the current building creating another 70 jobs. It is expected to be completed by 2025.

“Just to give you the number, in seven years, by 2030 our sales volume will jump 10 times higher,” said Seo.

Fedeli points out Ontario, with Windsor’s assistance, has helped the province attract $27 billion in EV business in the last three years with 2024 forecasted as a banner year.

“From my perspective it becomes doubly important to make sure that we start prepping and getting land ready for this expansion and this transformation that we have in front of us,” said Dilkens. 

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