Anticipation builds as APMA conference offers peek at first all-Canadian electric vehicle

Onlookers at the Automotive Parts and Manufacturers Association (APMA) conference caught a glimpse of the first all-Canadian electric vehicle, on Wednesday, in Windsor, Ont.

Project Arrow, spearheaded by the APMA, is the first original, all-Canadian, zero-emission vehicle in the country, according to the organization. 

The WindsorEssex Economic Development Corporation’s virtual reality CAVE has been helping to engineer the virtual model of the car, while Ontario Tech University in Oshawa has been a building physical one. The CAVE is an immersive virtual reality studio for enhanced simulations. 

The prototype vehicle has used the combined efforts of 58 Canadian industry partners, said Flavio Volpe, president of the APMA.

Vic Fidelli in front of the car.
Ontario’s Minister of Economic Development Vic Fidelli at the partial reveal of Project Arrow at the APMA conference in Windsor. (Dale Molnar/CBC)

While the prototype is still being built, Volpe said the finished product will be unveiled at the annual Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas on Jan. 5th, 2023. He said the project is on schedule.

Volpe said Wednesday’s viewing was just the first peek of the highly anticipated project.

For the moment, Volpe said the plan is to build just the one vehicle. The main objective in building it, he said, is to showcase what Canadian parts manufacturers are capable of doing. 

“We’re building one car but we’re going to show everybody that we have everything that they have in Silicon Valley to have a startup culture,” he said.

Flavio Volpe speaking to reporter, wearing green vest and glasses.
Flavio Volpe speaks offers reporters the latest details on Project Arrow. He is the president of the Automotive Parts Manufacturers’ Association (APMA). (Dale Molnar/CBC)

Volpe said it’s difficult to say how far along the project still needs to go before it’s completed. 

“If you want to do it by weight, we’re about halfway there,” he said. “About 80 per cent of the components have arrived and the rest are scheduled to arrive in the course of the next month.” 

About 35 per cent the parts used have been local to Windsor-Essex and Chatham-Kent, he added. 

Ontario’s Minister of Economic Development Vic Fidelli attended the conference.

“I think this is exciting,” he said. “We’ve got a project here that’s all-Canadian. It’s going to be a real showcase of how you can build end-to-end. The entire ecosystem is right here. I’m going to say it. It’s right here in Ontario.”

A hub cap.
One of the vehicle’s hub caps as featured at the conference. (Dale Molnar/CBC)

John Komar is the executive director of Ontario Tech’s Automotive Centre of Excellence (ACE) in Oshawa. He said an important part of the project has been to build a legacy that students and young people in the industry can one day carry forward. 

“We’ve got researchers and student interns right involved from thermo management to aerodynamics structural integrity. So there’s a lot of really hands-on great involvement from the students at Ontario Tech,” Komar said.

“They’re working with the engineers, the researchers, the professors and it’s the smiles that you see,” he said. “This is not an idea, this is real, this is happening. They’re getting their hands dirty, they’re getting hands on,” he said. 

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