Windsor

New project aims to build zero-emission car entirely designed, made in Canada

Building a zero-emission concept car that's entirely designed and made in Canada — that's the goal for the Canadian Automotive Parts Manufacturers' Association.

Project Arrow is an effort to demonstrate the strength of the Canadian automotive sector

Flavio Volpe, President of the Automotive Parts Manufacturers Association, said the industry is ready to fight steel and aluminum tariffs in court if necessary. (Dan Taekema/CBC)

Building a zero-emission concept car entirely designed and made in Canada — that's the goal for the Automotive Parts Manufacturers' Association (APMA).

It launched Project Arrow this week in an effort to demonstrate the strength of the Canadian automotive sector.

Since it became public, APMA President Flavio Volpe has received a lot of interest from across Canada — much of that came from the Windsor-area.

"Windsor is the beating heart of the Canadian auto sector," he said.

Volpe predicts roughly one-third of the vehicle's parts could be sourced from Windsor.

In his office, Volpe has a diagram of a Chrysler Pacifica minivan, which is built at the Windsor Assembly Plant. He sees many of those parts come from the U.S., Mexico and even overseas. Volpe said all of those components could be sourced in Canada, but aren't.

The FCA Chrysler Pacifica minivan is built in Windsor. (Paul Sancya/Associated Press)

That sparked a thought to create this concept car.

"Why don't we feature the best of the best, in every single component of that car," Volpe asked himself.

Ambitious targets

There are some pretty ambitious targets attached too. By 2021, he plans to have a virtual concept car and the following year it's set to be a "rolling vehicle" featured at auto shows.

His main goal is to showcase what Canada really has to offer when it comes to the automotive manufacturing industries.

Suppliers are in "every single segment" and the technology in this country is among the most advanced in the world, he said.

Showing off Canadian technology

In his eyes, it would be impressive to make a 100 per cent Canadian car and "show the automakers around the world that Canadian technology is there for sale and scale," said Volpe.

One of the main reasons why this hasn't happened already, he said, is because the commodities are cheaper in other countries.

Things such as glass, seatbelts, rubber, wiper blades and stamped parts are all examples of that, Volpe added.

About the Author

Jason Viau is a video journalist, TV host and radio newsreader at CBC Windsor. He was born in North Bay, but has lived in Windsor for most of his life. Since graduating from St. Clair College, he's worked in print, TV and radio. Email him at jason.viau@cbc.ca

With files from Afternoon Drive

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