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VW eyes Canada in search for first North America cell plant - source

FILE PHOTO: VW logo at 2022 New York International Auto Show

BERLIN (Reuters) - Volkswagen and its battery subsidiary PowerCo SE have begun searching for a site for the carmaker's first battery cell factory in North America, a company source told Reuters on Thursday.

The source said Canada was "a logical option" for the plant, which would be VW's first gigafactory outside Europe.

The move was described as an expansion of the memorandum of understanding signed between Volkswagen and mineral-rich Canada in August, in which they agreed to intensify efforts to secure access to lithium, nickel and cobalt.

Europe's carmakers have pushed to secure stakes in battery production on the continent, but the industry there is still in its infancy.

In September, Volkswagen announced a $2.9 billion battery parts joint venture with Belgian materials firm Umicore

On the hunt for a location in North America, Volkswagen board member for technology Thomas Schmall said: "PowerCo is about to jump across the Atlantic. The framework conditions in North America are highly attractive. The most competitive location wins the race."

(Reporting by Jan Schwartz; Writing by Rachel More; Editing by Miranda Murray)