The Windsor-Essex region is situated at the heart of the richest consumer market in the world, with over 200 million people located within a 13-hour drive. Windsor-Essex is directly linked to the busiest commercial Canada–U.S. border crossing, handling approximately one third of all Canada–U.S. trade of nearly C$1 billion daily. The region’s prime location, quality of life, great economic prospects and highly skilled workforce make it an easy decision when considering an ideal place to start or expand your business.
Building on the region’s rich history in the development and production of the automobile, Windsor-Essex is now looking toward future trends of the automotive industry, including the development and production of connected, autonomous and electric vehicles.
Organizations across the Windsor-Essex region have partnered to develop a coordinated approach to grow and sustain an automobility cluster. This includes fostering an entrepreneurial network and advancing the development of technologies and infrastructure.
Automobility is the secure, zero-emission movement of people, goods and services using advanced information technologies. It is the future of mobility, and it has arrived in Windsor-Essex.
Entrepreneurial Support Networks in Automobility
The Invest WindsorEssex Automobility and Innovation department aims to support new and existing businesses by offering resources that help companies achieve their goals. There are several support networks that help foster excellence in the connected and autonomous vehicle development industry which including the Ontario Vehicle Innovation Network (OVIN), the Invest WindsorEssex Virtual Reality (VR) CAVE and the recently launched Canadian Automobility Hub.
As a proud partner of OVIN, Windsor-Essex hosts a Regional Technology Development Site, focusing on cross-border technologies and cybersecurity. Through this partnership, OVIN capitalizes on automotive technologies and mobility solutions and enables infrastructure networks across Ontario to adapt to this evolution. OVIN provides a competitive advantage allowing Ontario (including Windsor-Essex) to reinforce its position as a North American leader in automotive technologies.
Windsor-Essex is also home to Canada’s largest publicly accessible VR CAVE which serves as a commercialization tool to support connected and autonomous vehicle development through virtual reality and prototyping. Virtual reality provides many opportunities to aid in product development, including simulation, skills training and collaboration. Virtual prototyping allows processes to be tested before final verification with physical prototypes is performed. This resource is accessible to companies throughout the Windsor-Essex region and beyond and helps expand research and testing capabilities.
Canada’s First EV Ramp-up Factory
The Canadian Automobility Hub was launched in Windsor-Essex in late 2021. The facility provides an all-in-one solution for industry and research. A first for Canada, the Automobility Hub is “a great milestone contributing to the necessary economic evolution of our region. It offers a suite of resources and services, including a state-of-the-art ramp-up factory, to enable and support a network of innovative entrepreneurs and businesses interested in advancing the market for electric, zero-emission, as well as connected and automated vehicle technology and infrastructure.” says Stephen MacKenzie, President and CEO of Invest WindsorEssex, the lead economic development agency for the region.
The Windsor-Essex region is emerging as a North American leader in low carbon and zero-emission transportation. The region is not only adopting the electric vehicle infrastructure to support the plan’s targets, but both Stellantis and Ford have committed to investing billions into their Windsor operations. These investments will help build electric vehicles, including manufacturing Hybrid Pacifica Minivans and advance the region in conducting electric vehicle research and development.
Research and Development
Windsor-Essex is home to two internationally recognized post-secondary institutions, the University of Windsor and St. Clair College.
Located at the University of Windsor, the Centre for Hybrid Automotive Research and Green Energy (CHARGE Labs) is an internationally recognized R&D facility that fosters cross-disciplinary research collaboration among materials, mechanical, electrical and software engineers.
Further strategic research opportunities at the University of Windsor include:
Autonomous mobile robots and systems
Internet of Vehicles (IoV)
Sensor communication and fusion
Simulation emulation and test beds
Vehicle-to-vehicle for autonomous vehicles
St. Clair College’s Windsor campus is home to the Ford Centre for Excellence in Manufacturing and delivers high-quality training in engineering and manufacturing using some of the world’s most sophisticated technology.
Now is the perfect time to be part of the “Automobility Capital of Canada”, Windsor-Essex. Whether you are gearing up to start a new business or growing your company, Windsor-Essex has the right resources to ensure your success. Join us for the ride!
Major Automotive Investments in Windsor-Essex
Stellantis and LG Energy Solution announced they would invest$5 billion CAD ($4.1 billion USD) to build an electric vehicle battery plant. It will be the first large-scale, domestic electric vehicle battery manufacturing facility in Canada. It will be located in Windsor, Canada’s automobility capital.
Construction on the 4.5-millionsquare-foot plant is expected to begin later this year with an expected launch in the first quarter of 2024. An estimated 2,500 jobs are expected to be created.
Officials hope the new project will be a catalyst for the creation of a strong battery supply chain in the region.
“Through this joint venture, LG Energy Solution will be able to position itself as a critical player in building green energy value chains in the region,” said Youngsoo Kwon, CEO of LG Energy Solution. “Creating a joint venture battery manufacturing company in Canada, recognized as one of the leading nations in renewable energy resources, is key for LG Energy Solution as we aim to power more electric vehicles around the world.”
Stellantis has also announced a major investment of $3.6 billion in electric vehicle manufacturing. The investment includes the retooling of Windsor Assembly Plant and building two new research and development centres in the Windsor-Essex region.
Welcome to the auto capital of Canada Windsor-Essex. To learn more, please connect with Windsor-Essex Economic Development click here.