Canada's first Automobility Hub launched in Windsor-Essex

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Invest WindsorEssex and numerous local and industry partners announced the launch of Canada's first Automobility Hub at St. Clair College's Windsor Campus on Wednesday morning.

The Canadian Automobility Hub was coordinated by IWE to work with regional ecosystem partners, including all levels of government, local post-secondary institutions, program service providers and businesses, as well as bi-national private sector partners, to support and foster entrepreneurship and innovation in automobility. 

St. Clair College and the University of Windsor are key partners in the Canadian Automobility Hub and provide the critical bridge between industry and research needed to establish an automobility ecosystem and ramp-up factory. 

Windsor Mayor Drew Dilkens says it was important to be at St. Clair College, with University of Windsor representatives on hand as well, because one of the keys to the plan is having education embedded into everything.

"At the end of the day this a war on talent around the world, and the transition that we're seeing in the automotive sector globally is going to require really smart people. People who know how to code, who know chemistry and battery technology, it is a transition and we want to be on the forefront of that and make sure that we cement our position as the automobility capital of Canada," he says.

Officials say the Canadian Automobility Hub has already begun to catalyze the growth of a next generation automobility cluster. 

This project is one of many supported by FedDev Ontario, who recently awarded $7.5 million to support 1,350 entrepreneurs and attract $40 million in foreign direct investment in Windsor-Essex. 

This funding is built on an initial $5 million FedDev Ontario investment announced in September 2019. 

InvestWindsorEssex has been critical to the success of this initiative and in securing German-based company PEM Motion, who is providing engineering consulting services and development solutions to help advance technology for vehicle batteries, fuel cells and electric motors right here in Windsor-Essex. 

Christoph Lienemann, Managing Director for PEM Motion North America, says they're looking forward to working with local innovative businesses and entrepreneurs to bring their products to market.

"What attracted us here to the region is of course the great university and college, the companies here, there are great global players. But also of course the proximity to Detroit with three headquarters there. So there's a lot of automotive already here in the blood, and we want to transfer that towards a more automobility focus," he says.
 
Locally, Windsor Mold Group brings 50 years of private sector experience in automotive manufacturing and innovation. 

Together, PEM Motion, Windsor Mold Group and Integris form Automobility Enterprises Inc., the private sector company of the Canadian Automobility Hub. 

The Canadian Automobility Hub contains all the machinery and resources necessary to manufacture mobility prototypes, and Lienemann says the key is thinking outside the box to meet the changing needs of industries.

"It cannot be so fixed and so automated. We need to be more flexible, using technologies like IOT or data analytics to just optimize the production better. So it will be much cleaner and less looking like a line but more flexible," he adds.

By building the Canadian Automobility Hub, officials say Windsor-Essex is attracting investment and creating long-term, high paying, high value tech jobs for the region for years to come. 

To date, over 30 partnerships, more than 300 new jobs and nearly $50 million in foreign direct investment has been secured through automobility support funding from FedDev Ontario.