Auto Service World
News   February 23, 2017   by Adam Malik

Automotive innovation gets federal boost

Navdeep Bains, minister of innovation, science and economic development

Two Ontario companies are getting a cash infusion to boost innovation in Canada.

The federal government will give up to $17 million as a repayable contribution to Astrex Inc., based out of Lakeshore, Ont., near Windsor. The company makes auto parts. The money will help Astrex to build a facility to produce lightweight and high-strength aluminum components, to reduce fuel consumption and lower carbon emissions.

“At Astrex, we have created a facility at the leading edge of aluminum extrusion technology and with the support of the Government of Canada, we are proud to be able to create more manufacturing jobs in the Windsor area,” said Mark Blackmore, general manager of Astrex.

In a news release, the government noted the company’s plans to create 62 full time jobs this year, plus another 24 in 2018 thanks to the investment.

A $1.2 million non-repyable contribution will go to Ottawa-based company GBatteries Energy of Canada Inc. The company will use the money to develop longer-lasting batteries for electric cars. The battery system will also be able to recharge more quickly than what is currently available on the market.

Related: Push continues for industry innovation

Electric vehicles gaining more and more speed to replace your typical cars on the roads, said Tim Sherstyuk, chief executive officer of GBatteries, and there is growing customer demand for better performing options. “The need for these devices to charge faster, and use longer lasting batteries has never been higher.”

Investments in both companies “will lead to new products and services that are more energy efficient, emit lower carbon emissions and promote healthier communities, said Naveed Bains, the federal minister of innovation, science and economic development. “The investments will give middle-class Canadians working in the auto sector the opportunity to design and build the cars of the future.”

The auto industry represents 10 per cent of Canada’s manufacturing GDP and either directly or indirectly employs more than half a million people, the government noted.