UPDATED: EV future takes centre stage
Mario CywinskiIn-Depth Innovation & Technology Sustainability Automotive Government Manufacturing Resource Sector Transportation automotive world electric vehicle manufacturing Electric Vehicles government innovation and technology manufacturing landscape vehicle manufacturers
The EV Innovation and Technology Conference 2023 took place at the Barrett Centre for Technology Innovation on the campus of Humber College.
Industry heavyweights were on hand to discuss how to move forward. Vehicle manufacturers were represented by Marissa West, President and Managing Director, GM Canada, and Jean Marc Leclerc, President and CEO, Honda Canada; parts suppliers by Linda Hasenfratz, Executive Chairman and CEO, Linamar Corporation, and Ahmed Elganzouri, Sustainability Director, Magna International Inc.; The Honourable Victor Fedeli, Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade, represented the Government of Ontario, while representatives from associations, unions, suppliers, and others we also on hands.
“NGen partnered with Electric Autonomy to host the largest conference of EV specialists that has been held in Canada to date – and it is only the beginning,” said Jayson Myers, CEO, NGen. “It brought together industry leaders from across the EV value chain to discuss the future of the industry and what needs to be done to address the significant innovation and skills challenges that still lie ahead. Two key themes emerged – the importance of collaboration and the need to move fast to take advantage of the changes that are transforming the auto industry worldwide.
A panel on Retooling the Manufacturing Landscape, was the highlight of the day, as it included West and Hasenfratz, who were joined by Lana Payne, National President, Unifor, Rachel Doran, Director of Policy and Strategy, Clean Energy Canada, and moderator John Stackhouse, Senior Vice-President, Office of the CEO, RBC.
“A consistent theme across the day’s speakers and panels was the need for a sense of urgency to seize the opportunities and address the challenges of building a globally competitive EV supply chain in Canada,” said Nino Di Cara, president, Electric Autonomy, the event’s organizers. “The speakers made it crystal clear that we’re going to need all stakeholders in the industry to embrace innovation at speed while maintaining our national values and objectives around sustainability.”
Keynotes for the day were presented by LeClerc, who presented to closing keynote (about the need for industry cohesion to tackle issues such as infrastructure, having more urgency, and developing a skilled workforce), as well as a keynote on EV Future Market Readiness, by John Laughlin, Chief Technology Officer, NGen, and Matthew Fortier, President and CEO, Accelerate.
Other panels looked at Building a Sustainable Supply Chain: Canada’s ESG Edge, A Leap Forward: Next-Generation Batteries, and Bridging the Talent Gap. While fireside chats discussed Investment Landscape for EV-Sector Businesses, and What does the IRA mean for Canada?
“I came away from the event feeling inspired about the potential for Canada to be a global industry champion in the electric vehicle powertrain supply chain,” said Chris Hill, CEO, C. Hill Management Inc. Fleet Advisory Services.
The conference concluded with a cocktail reception featuring a fireside chat with Fedeli and Myers.
Also, part of the conference was an exhibitor section as well as an electric vehicle ride and drive.
For more on the conference, visit Electric Autonomy.
Mario Cywinski is the Editor of Plant, MRO, and Food and Beverage magazines, and a member of the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada. He has over 15 years of editorial experience; five years of MRO experience; over 20 years of automobile industry experience, and small business industry experience. Contact him at email@example.com.