The Ontario government has launched a flagship program to drive innovation and investment across Ontario’s electric, connected and autonomous vehicle sector.
Its $56.4 million investment in the Ontario Vehicle Innovation Network (OVIN) is part of Driving Prosperity ― The Future of Ontario’s Automotive Sector, the government’s plan to drive deals and secure production mandates for hybrid and electric vehicles, create a domestic battery ecosystem, and strengthen Ontario’s position as a North American automotive and electric vehicle (EV) innovation hub.
At GM Canada’s Canadian Technical Centre (CTC) in Markham, Vic Fedeli, Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade recently announced the province’s latest commitment to putting Ontario at the forefront of global demand for cleaner, safer, more sustainable transportation solutions.
Delivered in partnership with the Ontario Centre for Innovation (OCI), OVIN is Ontario’s response to the rising global demand for EV and Connected and Autonomous Vehicle (CAV) technologies and infrastructure. Building on the success of previous programs that encourage partnerships between small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), industry, academia and municipalities – OVIN will help to strengthen Ontario’s auto industry and make the province more competitive for new investments in EV and CAV technologies.
It will act as Ontario’s hub for the province-wide coordination of activities and resources related to EV and CAV research and commercialization.
OVIN is anchored by six main objectives:
- Bridge Ontario’s technology and manufacturing clusters to support the growth of Ontario’s automotive sector.
- Advance the growth of regional clusters and world-class testing locations to drive the deployment, adoption, and piloting of smart mobility technologies across the province.
- Deliver ongoing support for SMEs in commercializing technologies, scaling-up, attracting investment, and accessing global markets.
- Strengthen Ontario’s automotive and mobility workforce and talent pipeline through skills development and training programs.
- Drive public education, research, analysis, thought leadership activities, and raise awareness of the opportunities for Ontario – and our global competitive advantages.
- Convene stakeholder groups, act as a bridge for collaborative partnerships, and serve as a concierge for new entrants into Ontario’s thriving ecosystem.
Combined with the province’s $85 million investment in the previous Autonomous Vehicle Innovation Network (AVIN), Ontario’s total investment in this flagship initiative is almost $142 million.
Bold new initiatives include:
- An R&D Partnership Fund stream focused on electric vehicle and battery technologies
- Regional Technology Development Sites, with a new site to be established in Northern Ontario
- An OVIN Demonstration Zone, that will support real-time, on-road demonstrations to help Ontario firms showcase made-in-Ontario technologies to potential customers
- A Talent Development Program expanded to help attract and develop world-leading talent in the EV and CAV sector.
As a key element of the province’s Driving Prosperity Phase 2, OVIN will be the driving force behind the programming, province-wide coordination of activities and resources, and Ontario’s push to lead in the future of the automotive and mobility sector globally.
Together, Driving Prosperity and OVIN will position Ontario as a leading jurisdiction for new investments in for EV, CAV, battery technology, critical minerals and advanced manufacturing – reinforcing Ontario as the manufacturing hub of Canada.
“Together, OVIN and Driving Prosperity Phase 2 will support domestic parts producers, workers, and innovators across the province in responding to the global demand for electric and autonomous vehicles, and related technologies and infrastructure,” Fedeli said. “Right now across our province, over 300 businesses are already working on inventing the future of clean, connected transportation. Through OVIN, we’re continuing to invest in Ontario’s innovation ecosystem − making sure our innovators, entrepreneurs, and SMEs have the capital and support they need to bring Ontario-made EV and CAV solutions to the world.”
Positioning Ontario as a leading jurisdiction for investment in electrified and less carbon-intensive transportation technology is also part of the province’s plan to meet emission reduction targets and build a stronger, more sustainable Ontario.
“Ontario’s wheels are in motion to create a more sustainable future for the transportation sector. A critical pillar in our plan is strengthening Ontario’s position as an electric vehicle production hub, making these vehicles more accessible to drivers across the province,” Transportation Minister Caroline Mulroney said. “Our new flagship program will go a long way towards supporting our talented workforce, driving electric vehicle research and development, and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.”
By 2030, it is estimated that one out of every three automobiles sold globally will be electric.
Over the next five years, the size of the global autonomous car market is expected to nearly triple from $23B USD to $65B USD. More than 300 Ontario companies and organizations are active in the development of connected and autonomous vehicle technologies.
“The OVIN initiative is a key component of propelling Ontario as a global leader in innovation,” said Logan Kanapathi, MPP for Markham-Thornhill. “As one of Canada’s top technology hubs, Markham-Thornhill has been at the forefront of driving innovation. Through OVIN, we will be better positioned to create a diverse innovation ecosystem led by collaboration, skill, and excellence.”
Photo: MPP Logan Kanapathi gives a thumbs up to GM’s innovation.