First all-Canadian electric vehicle to be virtually engineered in Windsor

Local virtual reality technology will be used to help develop the first all-Canadian digital, electric vehicle that could drive the future of the auto sector. 

The Project Arrow virtual design is expected to be unveiled in early 2021

The vehicle shown is the design submitted by a team at Carleton University. The team will build the vehicle using virtual reality technology in Windsor-Essex. (Submitted by APMA)

Virtual reality technology in Windsor will be used to help develop the first all-Canadian, electric vehicle with hopes that it will drive the future of the auto sector. 

Project Arrow, spearheaded by the Automotive Parts Manufacturers' Association (APMA) of Canada, will be the first original, all-Canadian, zero-emission vehicle in the country, according to a news release Tuesday from the organization. The WindsorEssex Economic Development Corporation's virtual reality CAVE will help engineer the virtual model, while Ontario Tech University in Oshawa builds a physical one. 

The CAVE is an immersive virtual reality studio for enhanced simulations. 

"This project will bring together the best of the best of Canada's electric-drive, alternative-fuel, connected and autonomous and light-weight technology companies," reads the news release. 

On Tuesday, APMA announced that the finalist for the vehicle design is a team from Carleton University's School of Industrial Design in Ottawa. The team beat out 25 other applicants across Canada. 

Now that a design has been selected, Project Arrow will move into the engineering phase. 

The CAVE will be used by experts in Canada's automotive supply sector and post-secondary institutions to perform real-time testing and ensure safety standards are met. 

A look at the interior design of Project Arrow. (Submitted by APMA)

"The [virtual reality] CAVE is a tremendous asset for our community and partnerships like this put a flag in the ground that Windsor-Essex is the automobility hub in Canada," Stephen MacKenzie, president of the Windsor-Essex Economic Development Corporation, said in a news release. 

In addition to this, locals have said the vehicle's parts could all come from Canada, with APMA president Flavio Volpe stating that roughly one-third of Project Arrow's parts could be sourced directly from Windsor. 

"Windsor is the beating heart of the Canadian auto sector, I can think of no other better place to take the first pulse of the Arrow," Volpe stated in the release. 

Volpe told CBC News that the project allows Windsor to have a hand in the government's call to action to have a zero emissions economy by 2050. 

"If this inspires somebody to launch a Canadian [original equipment manufacturer] or if this becomes a Canadian [original equipment manufacturer], I think everybody wins, including all of the people in the Windsor region who are disproportionately invested in this industry," Volpe said. "If it sounds like a moon shot it's because that's where we aimed it." 

The virtual vehicle is expected to be unveiled in the beginning of 2021, Volpe said, adding that the physical model should be ready for 2022.