All-Canadian electric vehicle unveiled at Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas

Rich Garton/CTV Windsor News

Canada’s first zero-emission concept vehicle was unveiled on a global stage at the international Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas Thursday to great fanfare.

Project Arrow was three years in the making, with the Automotive Parts Manufacturers’ Association (APMA) taking the lead, implementing parts and technology systems from 58 different Canadian suppliers.

“We may not have a Canadian car company, but it’s not because we don’t have the know-how, or the innovative spirit,” said APMA president, Flavio Volpe.

The electric vehicle working prototype features 25 new technologies, such as connectivity, autonomous drive, a solar roof, carbon capture, AI applications and nanotechnology.

“The vehicle looks gorgeous, fantastic job by all the Canadian parts companies,” said Stephen Mackenzie, the president and CEO of Invest Windsor Essex. His team was in Las Vegas for the unveiling, along with representatives from St. Clair College, We-Tech Alliance and others.

The goal for the participation at CES is to build awareness of Windsor-Essex as a premier location for mobility innovation and to showcase the technological advancements and programming available to companies looking to partner, invest and expand into Canada’s Automobility Capital, said MacKenzie

The Arrow was brought from concept to reality using Windsor’s VR Cave to assist with creating the vehicle’s layout, design, architecture and power train.

“It’s a demonstration of tangible assets we have to support small and medium sized companies to help develop their products and technology,” said MacKenzie.

But don’t expect to see this car on the road or showrooms, as it’s just a working concept — meant to show automakers the potential for investment in Canadian suppliers.

“This project is about promoting the Canadian technologies that are on this platform for those companies to get more business from their global customers,” said Volpe.

That’s already happening, according to industry experts.

“This is Canada putting a lot of chips into the heart of where the industry is going,” said Bernard Swiecki, the research director at the Centre for Automotive Research in Ann Arbor, Mich.

Canada has landed $16 billion of investment in the auto sector over the past two years, notes Swiecki, who adds the country has increased it’s share of North American automaker investment from six per cent to 17 per cent in that time.

“And it really demonstrates that Canada has had great success in attracting some of these new electrified, automated investments,” Swiecki said.

The vehicle will undergo additional road testing in the coming months to prove range capacity. Volpe confirms the vehicle will be on display at the Canadian Auto Show in Toronto this February.

The APMA chose to unveil it in Vegas because the CES is one of the largest tech events in the world providing a platform to experience breakthrough technologies, global innovations and connect with subject matter experts.

It’s also a chance to showcase to the biggest audience possible — that Canada is open for business.

“Ontario and Quebec can be the automotive startup cluster that’s competes with or maybe does better than Silicon Valley,” he said. “It can be done.”