Automobility News: March 2023

We are thrilled to share with you the most recent announcements and developments in the Windsor-Essex region for the month of March. See below to read our top highlights. 

St. Thomas’ Volkswagen plant enhances Windsor’s position in EV space

The federal and provincial governments welcomed a historic investment in the Canadian EV sector from one of the world’s largest automakers – Volkswagen. Volkswagen’s subsidiary, PowerCo, will establish the company’s first overseas battery manufacturing facility in the City of St. Thomas, further expanding Ontario’s EV ecosystem and increasing opportunities in the Windsor-Essex EV supply chain.

This investment is good for the region as a whole. Windsor-Essex is recognized as a serious player in the battery industry, as it is the future home to the NextStar battery plant (a partnership between Stellantis and LG Energy Solution Ltd). Having another EV battery plant within a two-hour drive compliments the area by creating an even more attractive investment destination to supply chain manufacturers.

Invest WindsorEssex’s Investment Attraction team is already courting supply chain manufacturers to locate here. “There are supply chain companies that we’re working with that are setting up here … from here to London, we can become a global centre for supply chain,” said Joe Goncalves, vice president of Investment Attraction and Strategic Initiatives. READ MORE 

“There’s lots of opportunity for those (supply chain) companies to set up between us.” Invest WindsorEssex, President and CEO, Stephen MacKenzie. WATCH

Windsor-Essex welcomes Convoy Technologies to the region

Convoy Technologies Inc. is a manufacturing company that 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 and they have recently chosen Windsor-Essex as the site for their new production facility. The company plans to hire up to 50 employees and start operations this fall.

Invest WindsorEssex’s Investment Attraction team began working with Convoy Technologies in September 2022 and supported their expansion to the region by providing valuable labour cost analysis, site selection and facilitating introductions to local post-secondary institutions. 

Windsor-Essex’s geographical location and proximity to the United States, along with the region’s long history of expertise in automotive manufacturing, automotive industry, were major factors in choosing Windsor-Essex for their new production facility. The University of Windsor was also a big drawing card in terms of collaboration opportunities and the pipeline of talent, which will be particularly important to the company’s long-term plans.

“That validation of a good place to do business is really strengthening our ability to sell the region … Invest WindsorEssex welcomes the addition of Convoy Technologies to our region as a valued an integral part of our rapidly growing automobility ecosystem.” - Stephen MacKenzie, President and CEO of Invest WindsorEssex. READ MORE

Prototype Pipeline: Be your own boss

Invest WindsorEssex’s Windsor-Essex Regional Technology Development Site (WE RTDS), under the Ontario Vehicle Innovation Network (OVIN), is offering a student-focused program with the goal of promoting automobility and innovation through entrepreneurship. Prototype Pipeline is a paid co-op or placement opportunity being offered to students registered with the University of Windsor or St. Clair College.  

Chosen applicants will be asked to build an automobility company over a period of time, while receiving guidance from managers, engineers and business advisors to grow their company from ideation to incorporation.  

Get paid to be an entrepreneur and receive valuable knowledge from workplace professionals. LEARN MORE

A look into the Future of electric vehicles and the path to net-zero

Cara Clairman, CEO, Plug’n Drive

Invest WindsorEssex’s Automobility and Innovation team was pleased to participate in WEtech Alliance’s TeCK Week YQG as co-host for Tech Mobility Day, which brought focus to the development of the connected and autonomous vehicle (CAV) industry.  

Participants at the event had the opportunity to hear from keynote speaker, Cara Clairman, CEO of Plug’n Drive, a non-profit organization promoting education and electric vehicle (EV) adoption. Cara shared insight on the drive towards net-zero and the advancements in the EV industry. 

With about one of every 11 new vehicles registered in 2022 in Canada was an electric vehicle. Globally, sales increased 60 per cent. Cara admits there’s still a touch of hesitation among consumers about making the switch to EVs and brought focus to ways to encourage this shift.

Cara credited the provincial and federal government for securing manufacturing, battery and supply chain investments for Canada, however, suggested more focus should be aimed toward the consumers. She introduced that some form of incentive, more education, policy changes ensuring chargers are part of the building code and better financing options from banks, could help expand on this infrastructure to support the public through this transitionary period. READ MORE

Vehiqilla Inc. partners with Secure Elements Ltd. 

Local Windsor cybersecurity company, Vehiqilla Inc., partners with UK company, Secure Elements Ltd. with a vision to transform mobility into a secure and safe experience for cybersecurity. This collaboration is aimed to accelerate the adoption of an Automotive Cybersecurity Management System (CSMS), by combining cutting-edge innovation with cybersecurity experience and solutions.

Invest WindsorEssex is a proud regional partner of Vehiqilla Inc. and will provide support through the Regional Technology Development Site (WE RTDS) under the Ontario Vehicle Innovation Network (OVIN), to detect vulnerabilities and risks for Ontario based small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) working in the automobility space. Access to an elaborate threat library and penetration testing for automotive components and technologies will also be provided through the WE RTDS.