Automobility News: December 2023

Happy New Year! December 2023 closed out the year with some great announcements and developments in the Windsor-Essex region. See below to read our top highlights for the month of December. Visit our website for an overview of this month’s automobility stories.

The Conference Board of Canada forecasts Windsor to have the ‘strongest growth of all cities’

The Conference Board of Canada released its regional economic outlook for the remainder of last year and into 2024 highlighting key trends and factors. Ted Mallett, the director of economic forecasting at The Conference Board of Canada, says the picture for Windsor is quite optimistic with so many construction projects going on, generating economic benefits for the region. Windsor is on the verge of revitalization with the trajectory of various recent investments that will change and shape the city. The positive view on Windsor’s economy stems from the investment and job creation the city has attracted, including the $5-billion NextStar Energy electric vehicle battery manufacturing plant, construction of the Gordie Howe International Bridge, the multi-million-dollar reconstruction of County Road 42 and Amazon’s new delivery station on Pillette Road. These highlights signify substantial growth and progress, emphasizing the vast opportunities and incredible potential ahead for the Windsor-Essex region. READ MORE

Stay updated on EV Careers: Your go-to source for EV-related job opportunities

On Nov. 16,2023, Invest WindsorEssex (IWE), together with Workforce WindsorEssex, the University of WindsorSt. Clair College and WEtech Alliance, launched with Government of Canada support through FedDev Ontario. The online worker registry tool has been helping to grow the needs of the EV sector throughout the region. Since its launch, the platform has already seen an influx of applicants, with over 800 registrants in the first month. The website will continue to provide job seekers with the resources and information they need to build successful careers in this growing industry. This effort is part of a larger regional workforce development and talent attraction program led by Invest WindsorEssex. READ MORE

Ontario welcomes $35 million manufacturing investment in Windsor

(L to R): Max Jung, investment attraction program manager, IWE; Andrew Dowie, MPP Windsor-Tecumseh; Jae-Hwa Moon, president, Bobaek America; Victor Fedeli, Ontario Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade; Drew Dilkens, mayor, City of Windsor; Stephen MacKenzie, president & CEO, IWE; Anthony Leardi, MPP Essex and Joe Goncalves, vice president investment attraction & strategic initiatives, IWE.

The Ontario government announced a $35-million investment by Bobaek America Inc., a Korean electric vehicle (EV) parts manufacturer, set to build a new manufacturing facility in Windsor. Located next to the Windsor airport, this 71,000-square-foot facility will specialize in battery insulation panels and cell sheets for EVs.

“Bobaek’s investment in Windsor-Essex as their first entry into the North American EV supply chain further solidifies our position as global leader in manufacturing and next-generation vehicle production. This investment adds to the region’s continued growth and economic prosperity and we are thrilled that Bobaek will play a major role within our automotive ecosystem. Thank you to Minister Fedeli and the Province of Ontario for your continued support for Windsor-Essex.” Stephen MacKenzie, president and CEO, Invest WindsorEssex

Bobaek America Inc.’s commitment as a major supplier will contribute to the vision of creating an EV cluster in Windsor-Essex, signifying another milestone. Investments of this magnitude are not just job creators; they are essential in establishing a comprehensive EV and end-to-end battery supply chain. This investment marks a positive step forward towards the region’s revitalization, which is set to create quality jobs. Phase one is currently under construction and is expected to be completed in 2024, meanwhile phase two construction will commence in the second quarter of 2025. READ MORE

Ontario Vehicle Innovation Network’s newly launched Demonstration Zone

As Ontario’s flagship initiative for the future of automotive and mobility, the Ontario Vehicle Innovation Network (OVIN) is helping Ontario SMEs bring next-generation innovations closer to market. The City of Vaughan and the City of Markham with funding from the Government of Ontario through OVIN, are inviting businesses to apply to demonstrate their innovative mobility technology solutions within the newly launched OVIN Demonstration Zone.

Entrepreneurs, innovators and visionaries will be provided with space to safely test their automotive and smart mobility solutions in the real world. Moreover, by harnessing the backing of crucial industry partners, this platform enables startups, scaleups, and SMEs previously limited by resources to demonstrate and market their technologies to potential clients and collaborators. LEARN MORE on how to apply for the general open call stream, which is currently accepting applications until Monday, Feb. 12, 2024.

Automobility highlights from 2023

Throughout 2023, Windsor-Essex experienced a series of significant milestones, investments and initiatives, each contributing to the region’s resurgence and economic revitalization.

First Quarter
The year commenced with Magna International announcing a $471-million investment to expand its operations, strengthening Ontario’s end-to-end automotive chain. This pivotal decision set the momentum for further investments in the EV space, solidifying the region’s position in Ontario’s automotive industry.

Shortly after, Volkswagen unveiled plans to expand the Canadian EV sector, establishing the country’s first overseas battery manufacturing facility in St. Thomas, a move signaling more progress in Ontario’s EV ecosystem.

Convoy Technologies Inc. also announced plans to establish a new production facility, fostering jobs in the area.  The manufacturing company supplies cameras, monitors and accessories to providers of cloud-based video telematics services and AI-powered driver-training systems for heavy-duty on and off-road vehicles selected Windsor-Essex as the site for its new production facility. Invest WindsorEssex worked closely with Convoy, providing support and guidance for their expansion, marking another pivotal moment in our region’s development.

Second Quarter
Windsor-Essex Regional Technology Development Site (WE RTDS), led by Invest WindsorEssex (IWE), partnered with virtual reality (VR) company Virtualware (EPA: MLVIR) to expand SME access to Canada’s largest publicly accessible VR CAVE. Specializing in cross-border technology, advanced simulation, virtual reality and automotive cybersecurity, this partnership further supports IWE’s VR CAVE capabilities and the programming offered to companies through the (WE RTDS). This initiative contributes to fostering innovation in Canada’s automobility ecosystem.

Third Quarter
The Honourable Filomena Tassi, Minister responsible for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario, along with Irek Kusmierczyk, Member of Parliament for Windsor-Tecumseh, announced a $200,000-investment for Invest WindsorEssex (IWE) to support the long-term growth of the electric vehicle (EV) sector in the Windsor-Essex region.

Fourth Quarter
The last quarter witnessed substantial strides in the EV sector, with Flex-N-Gate and StoreDot joining forces to produce
rapid-charging battery cells, aligning with the region’s ambition to lead in green technology and EV manufacturing.

A $35-million investment was announced by Bobaek America Inc., a Korean electric vehicle (EV) parts manufacturer, to build a new manufacturing facility in Windsor, specializing in battery insulation panels and cell sheets for EVs. Bobaek’s investment marks the company’s first entry into the North American EV supply chain, which expects to create quality jobs.

The year concluded with The Conference Board of Canada’s forecast positioning Windsor to have the ‘strongest growth of all cities’. This emphasizes the incredible potential and the abundant opportunities that lie ahead for the region.

Throughout the year, Invest WindsorEssex actively participated in and supported various events, affirming our commitment to fostering economic growth. From attending the Electric Autonomy’s EV Charging Expo to active representation and promotion of the Windsor-Essex EV ecosystem, IWE remains a steadfast advocate, fostering collaboration and innovation across diverse networks. These investments and collaborations reinforce Windsor-Essex’s position as an emerging hub for green technology, EV manufacturing and economic growth signifying a promising trajectory for the region’s continued revitalization and future prosperity.