Windsor Mayor Drew Dilkens during a regular meeting of council. April 24, 2023. Capture via City of Windsor website. Windsor Mayor Drew Dilkens during a regular meeting of council. April 24, 2023. Capture via City of Windsor website.

Windsor's mayor calls EV plant stalemate 'very, very problematic'

Despite assurances from a local MP that Windsor's electric vehicle battery plant will move forward, Mayor Drew Dilkens is hoping for something more concrete.

As was first to report Wednesday, Windsor-Tecumseh MP Irek Kusmierczyk stated that he was confident that a deal to keep the entire plant operation in Windsor was near. The mayor, however, said he is getting increasingly concerned as the stalemate drags on.

Dilkens said it's time for Ottawa to step up and protect the investment for Windsor.

"We need the federal government to pony up the money that they promised the company that they would deliver when they said they would be competitive with the Inflation Reduction Act in the United States," said Dilkens.

The Act, signed into law in August 2022 by President Joe Biden, encourages companies to invest in clean energy projects while lowering existing energy costs. It offers investors massive incentives of 30 per cent on base tax credits and a production tax credit of 2.75 cents per kilowatt hour.

In addition to the provisions of the Act, Stellantis and LG Energy became concerned after the federal government promised a five-year, $13.2-billion subsidy for German rival Volkswagen for a plant in St. Thomas.

Regardless, Dilkens pointed out that the project was put in motion by the federal government's pledge.

"That promise caused the company to move forward with construction, the construction that you see is the module portion of the business," said Dilkens. "And now, there is word that the module portion is in jeopardy. Certainly, that becomes very, very problematic because this is a fully-integrated system being built in Windsor."

About 650 research-and-development jobs are at stake should the module plant be moved elsewhere. 

The majority of the construction on the Banwell Road plant stopped soon after the Toronto Star broke the story of issues raised by Stellantis.

Stellantis Canada did not respond to a question posed by this week regarding Kusmierczyk's comments. However, company spokesperson Lou Ann Gosselin did confirm two weeks ago that due to the impasse, contingency plans would be explored, including setting up shop in Michigan.

---with files from Adelle Loiselle

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