Invest WindsorEssex hosts Project Arrow

Aaron Mahoney/iHeart Radio

An opportunity for the local automotive and business community to take in Canada’s first zero-emission concept vehicle. The Automotive Parts Manufacturers’ Association (APMA) presented Project Arrow in-person at the Invest WindsorEssex Automobility and Innovation Centre on Monday morning.

Officials say the project is a great example of an all-Canadian effort to design, engineer and build the next-generation vehicle and is the largest commercial vehicle collaboration in Canadian automotive history. Invest WindsorEssex was named the official virtual reality partner of APMA’s Project Arrow back in 2020 when it was in the design phase, and those in attendance today had a chance to experience it in their Virtual Reality Cave.

APMA president Flavio Volpe says everybody is happy to see the vehicle when it comes to town, but it’s special to bring it to Windsor-Essex.”nI had so many partners on this, and especially this one that we’re standing in right now. I give full credit to Stephen McKenzie and his team, they bought what we were selling at a time when the world was falling apart. And then invested in it heavily with no return. If we didn’t finish the physical product, this virtual spend would’ve been a mess, would’ve just been a waste of time and resources for them,” he said.

He says it was important to bring it back to where the idea came to life.

“And where a lot of companies in that room, like NARMCO Group. They’ve been a member of the APMA from Day 1, since 1952, they’ve been represented on the board. Four generations on the board, they’ve been very helpful and we wanted to bring it home for them.” Volpe says when it comes to potential jobs and investments as a result of Project Arrow, it’s a two-fold answer.

On one hand he says there’s a lot of companies that already have capacity, so getting their next generation of products and programs into their facilities is important.

“There are at least 20 companies here that are talking to OEMs for the first time, those are the applied technology companies. And they are concentrated here in this region, also around Kitchener-Waterloo, and then several just north of the GTA. Those are new jobs footprints, if I had to take a guess that you were going to hold me to, it’d probably be a few thousand jobs,” Volpe said.

Through development of the prototype vehicle, Project Arrow has provided a platform to enable collaborations with Ontario-based small and medium-sized enterprises, which officials say demonstrates both Ontario’s and Canada’s automotive capabilities and innovation.