Invest WindsorEssex (IWE), the lead economic development organization for the Windsor-Essex region announced the launch of Canada's first Automobility Hub. Together with local elected officials, global industry leaders, post-secondary education institutions and guests, IWE unveiled one of the region's new centres for automotive innovation and collaboration at St. Clair College, Windsor Campus.
"Invest WindsorEssex is proud of the efforts to achieve this great milestone contributing to the necessary economic evolution of our region. We have brought together a cluster of innovative partners that are ready to collaborate to compete in the global marketplace as the Automobility Capital of Canada," said Stephen MacKenzie, President and CEO of IWE. "The Automobility Hub is the first of its kind in Canada. It offers a suite of resources and services, including a state-of-the-art ramp-up factory, to enable and support a network of innovative entrepreneurs and businesses interested in advancing the market for electric, zero-emission, as well as connected and automated vehicle technology and infrastructure."
The Canadian Automobility Hub was coordinated by IWE to work with regional ecosystem partners, including all levels of government, local post-secondary institutions, program service providers and businesses, as well as bi-national private sector partners, to support and foster entrepreneurship and innovation in automobility. Through IWE's leadership and the support of the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario), the Canadian Automobility Hub has already begun to catalyze the growth of a next-generation automobility cluster. FedDev Ontario provided an investment of $7.5 million to IWE to support 1,350 entrepreneurs and attract $40 million in foreign direct investment in the region. This funding is built on an initial $5 million FedDev Ontario investment announced in September 2019.
St. Clair College and the University of Windsor are key partners in the Canadian Automobility Hub and provide the critical bridge between industry and research needed to establish an automobility ecosystem and ramp-up factory.
"St. Clair College is proud to be an active partner with IWE and the location of the Automobility Research branch of the Canadian Automobility Hub. Students and graduates from our college will now have a destination to apply their technical expertise to advance software and engineering technology for modern mobility manufacturing right here in Windsor-Essex," said Patricia France, President, St. Clair College. "Our local community's manufacturing strength and skilled workforce means we are a hub for innovation, new tech enterprises, and the auto sector of the future."
"The University of Windsor continues to support opportunities to leverage our unique assets to ensure that public and private partners have access to the expertise they need to help diversify and strengthen the economy of the Windsor-Essex region," said University of Windsor President and Vice-Chancellor Robert Gordon. "By leveraging these assets and fostering a strong ecosystem of innovation in Windsor-Essex, as well as expanded opportunities for research and development collaboration we are well-positioned to support the transformation of our local economy from the Automotive Capital of Canada to the Automobility Capital of Canada."
IWE has been critical to the success of this initiative and in securing German-based company PEM Motion, which is providing engineering consulting services and development solutions to help advance technology for vehicle batteries, fuel cells and electric motors right here in Windsor-Essex. "PEM Motion is proud to be one of the anchor private sector partners for the Canadian Automobility Hub. We look forward to working with innovative businesses and entrepreneurs in Windsor-Essex to bring their products to market," said Christoph Lienemann, Managing Director North America, PEM Motion.
Locally, Windsor Mold Group brings 50 years of private sector experience in automotive manufacturing and innovation. Together, PEM Motion, Windsor Mold Group and Integris form Automobility Enterprises Inc., the private sector company of the Canadian Automobility Hub. "We are entering a new era of sustainable mobility and the goal of Automobility Enterprises is to bring together German-based innovation in the EV space with North American product development and manufacturing capabilities, right here in Windsor-Essex." said David Mastronardi, President of Windsor Mold Group and board member of Automobility Enterprises.
During today's announcement, representatives from Automobility Enterprises demonstrated an electric e-commerce delivery van built by a Deutsche Post subsidiary. The electric van is part of one of the largest electric vehicle fleets in the world and has been in use for parcel delivery in Germany for over seven years. This model is a great fit for Canadian utility and delivery fleets in the future as they make the transition to electric vehicles.
By building the Canadian Automobility Hub, Windsor-Essex is attracting investment and creating long-term, high-paying, high-value tech jobs for the region for years to come. To date, over 30 partnerships, more than 300 new jobs and nearly $50 million in foreign direct investment has been secured through automobility support funding from FedDev Ontario.