Government of Canada

Government of Canada

October 15, 2010 11:15 ET

Government of Canada Supports Auto Innovation

Minister Clement announces investment to bolster Canadian Research & Development

HAMILTON, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Oct. 15, 2010) - The Honourable Tony Clement, Minister of Industry, today announced four projects under the Automotive Partnership Canada program to strengthen Canada's economy over the long-term. The projects increase R&D in the automotive sector across several promising fields, such as developing ways to increase widespread adoption of electric vehicles, advancing software (usage, technologies) in the automotive sector, and creating a process for storing and reusing waste thermal energy. Minister Clement was joined at the event by the President of the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, Dr. Suzanne Fortier.

"A healthy and sustainable automotive industry is an essential part of Canada's economic recovery," said Minister Clement. "Automotive Partnership Canada helps fund and create research and development partnerships to ensure our auto sector remains at the cutting edge of automotive innovation."

Today, Minister Clement announced that McMaster University will receive more than $10 million from the Automotive Partnership Canada program for a $16 million R&D project to develop next generation model-driven engineering capabilities to aid in the effective advancement of software in the automotive sector. The project will be carried out in partnership with General Motors of Canada, IBM Canada and Malina Software.

"The Automotive Partnership Canada program is part of our government's commitment to enhancing our research capacity", said Member of Parliament for Ancaster-Dundas-Flamborough-Westdale David Sweet. "By investing in this important sector, not only are we are fuelling made-in-Canada innovation and increasing our ability to compete internationally but we are building important partnerships between local business and academia."

The other recipients receiving Government of Canada support today are:

  • the University of Waterloo, which will receive $3,568,000 to work with General Motors Canada and Maplesoft to address the widespread adoption of electric vehicles.
  • the University of British Columbia, which will receive $499,824 to work with Westport Innovations to further develop natural gas and diesel engine technologies.
  • the University of Toronto, which will receive $234,000 to work with Dana Canada Corporation to develop on-board storage and reuse of waste thermal energy.

"Canadian academic researchers are well-suited to tackle specific issues for providing a sustainable automotive industry," said Dr. Fortier. "In these projects, researchers are developing the next generation of automobiles by addressing issues that will enable commercialization of electric vehicles and improve the performance of natural gas engines."

Today's investment is another example of how this Government is working with partners to accelerate the development and adoption of innovative digital technologies across the economy. The announcement represents an investment of more than $14.9 million over five years for automotive research and development (R&D) projects worth a total of $28.66 million.

Announced by Minister Clement in April 2009, Automotive Partnership Canada is a five-year, $145 million initiative to support collaborative R&D to drive the Canadian automotive industry to greater levels of innovation. Industrial partners play a key role in this initiative by providing both financial support and essential in-kind contributions to ensure the success of the research projects. Three previously approved research projects focus on reducing weight by using more plastic parts in engines, improving the efficiency of transmissions and advancing the state of the art in longer-range electric vehicles. 

The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council is a federal agency whose vision is to help make Canada a country of discoverers and innovators for the benefit of all Canadians. The agency supports some 28,000 students and postdoctoral fellows in their advanced studies. It promotes discovery by funding more than 11,800 professors every year and fosters innovation by encouraging more than 1,500 Canadian companies to participate and invest in post-secondary research projects.


Automotive Partnership Canada Initiative

Automotive Partnership Canada (APC) is a five-year (2009–2014), $145-million initiative to support significant, collaborative, industry-driven research and development that benefits the Canadian automotive sector.

APC involves funding from the following partners:

  • Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada ($85 million)
  • National Research Council Canada ($30 million)
  • Canada Foundation for Innovation ($15 million)
  • Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada ($5 million)
  • Canada Excellence Research Chairs Program ($10 million)

Research Areas

An Industry Task Force guided the development of APC. This included identifying research priorities, grouped under three strategic themes. All research to be supported must fall under at least one of the three priority areas listed below:

 Improving the Automobile's Environmental Performance and Impact

 The Cognitive Car

 Next Generation Manufacturing

Four new research projects approved under APC will help develop ways to increase widespread adoption of electric vehicles, improve natural gas engine technologies, provide engineering software for automotive designers, develop recreational hybrid vehicles and store and re-use onboard thermal energy:

1) NECSIS: Network for the Engineering of Complex Software Intensive Systems for Automotive Systems

McMaster University, General Motors of Canada, IBM Canada, and Malina Software (Maibaum)

Government of Canada APC investment: $10,575,000

NECSIS will tackle obstacles and develop new model-driven engineering (MDE) capabilities that lead to the development of the next generation of MDE methods and tools. It involves creation of a network (strategic network for the engineering of complex software intensive systems for automotive applications) as opposed to development of a technology. Advances made in this area will assist manufacturers in preparing for complexities they may face in the implementation of new automotive components, particularly as electrification technology transitions into vehicles. This project will be transformational with respect to the capabilities of model-driven engineering and with respect to the effective development of software in the automotive sector.

General Motors of Canada, one of network's major industrial partners, is one of the few companies in North America that builds large complex software systems using MDE technologies. Canada is uniquely positioned to lead this research. It has one of the largest, strongest and most industrially experienced software-engineering research communities in the world, with a depth of expertise in related disciplines, including programming languages, embedded systems, human factors and cognitive science.

2) Next Generation Electric Vehicles: Development of Key Technologies and Full Vehicle Testing

University of Waterloo, General Motors, and Maplesoft (Khajepour)

Government of Canada APC investment: $3,568,000

This project will address many of the challenges, identified by General Motors, hindering widespread adoption of electric vehicles, including development and validation of key enabling technologies, such as vehicle stability control, power management systems, and battery monitoring and charging devices. Innovative design tools that will streamline the design-to-commercialization process will also be developed to reduce both time and cost of EV production in Canada. Collectively, these advancements will drastically reduce environmental impacts while accelerating fabrication of Canadian-made electric vehicles and related systems.

3) Ultra-Low Emission High-Pressure Direct-Injection (HPDI) Natural Gas Heavy Duty Engine

University of British Columbia, Westport Innovations (Rogak)

Government of Canada APC investment: $499,824

The purpose of this research is to support the continued development and commercialization of natural gas engine technologies. Westport Innovations is the world leader in diesel/natural gas dual fuel injectors. The University of British Columbia has developed a strong collaborative relationship with Westport.

Compression-ignition natural gas engines can achieve very low emissions and may be a viable way to reduce operating costs and greenhouse gas emissions in many heavy-duty applications. To remain competitive, the technology developed by Westport Innovations must take advantage of the advances in conventional heavy duty engines and explore fundamental questions specific to natural gas combustion. Most of the effort is directed towards single-cylinder engine testing, but injection visualization and modeling will play important supporting roles in understanding fundamental causes of soot formation as well as identifying engine hardware and operating parameters necessary to achieve very low soot emissions over a wide range of operating conditions.

4) Innovative Thermal Energy Storage System for Use In Automobiles
University of Toronto, Dana Canada Corporation

Government of Canada APC Investment: $234,000

This project focuses on the development of a novel energy storage system for automobiles that reuses waste thermal energy. This would contribute to reduced start up emissions and shorter time period of increased fuel consumption of a cold engine and power train through active warming of the power train oils. Even greater interest for this technology is expected for hybrid and electric vehicles. The purpose of this study is to determine an appropriate metal oxide-hydroxide reactor to efficiently store and release internal combustion engine waste exhaust energy. The investigation will compare functionality of known and viable improvements with emerging heat storage technology.

Contact Information

  • Office of the Honourable Tony Clement
    Minister of Industry
    Lynn Meahan - Press Secretary
    Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada
    Shannon Cobb
    Media and Public Affairs Officer
    Industry Canada
    Media Relations