An innovative private-sector collaboration is an anchor partner in Windsor-Essex’s Canadian Automobility Hub.
Automobility Enterprises Inc. brings together Germany-based PEM Motion and LBBZ as well as Windsor Mold Group, and Integris Software to provide engineering consulting services and development solutions to advance technology for batteries, fuel cells and electric motors.
It offers white label manufacturing and a ramp-up factory that will produce electric vehicles in small batches. “A start-up that has great ideas but little money and no prototype can come to us for the equipment and expertise to build something they can show to investors and then move into small series production,” says Christoph Lienemann, managing director of PEM Motion North America.
“For larger companies, it’s difficult to be agile. Working with us can help them build the capacity to move good ideas forward.”
Lienemann says the focus currently is on building capacity, training people and optimizing partnerships with St. Clair College and the University of Windsor.
PEM Motion is a founding member of other similar hubs in California, Europe and Mexico. Plans are in place to roll out in Latin America, India, China and Africa.
“We are convinced that we chose the right location in Canada and will do great things in Windsor-Essex,” says Lienemann.
“The overall goal is to create a network of local ecosystems. In each community, the focus is driven by the local players. These aren’t PEM hubs, but local hubs that we are one partner in.”
The team of PEM Motion founded StreetScooter out of university research in 2010 and grew it into one of the largest electric fleets in Europe as it was acquired by Deutsche Post in 2014. With this experience the founders decided to form PEM Motion to help others to industrialize electric vehicles and components with engineering and consulting services.
Shifting to an automobility lens is a natural progression for a region built on the auto industry, says Wendy Stark, director of business retention and expansion with Invest WindsorEssex. A key part of her role is to help existing automotive suppliers in the region transition to an electric future.
“Automobility Enterprises has developed a program to work with companies seeking to connect with electric vehicle OEMs and Tier 1 suppliers. There is tremendous interest in what they are offering.”