Government of Canada

Government of Canada

December 20, 2010 10:00 ET

Government of Canada Supports Auto Innovation

Government of Canada announces $6.7 million in support for next generation automotive R&D

SHERBROOKE, QUEBEC--(Marketwire - Dec. 20, 2010) - Steven Blaney, Member of Parliament for Lévis–Bellechasse, on behalf of the Honourable Tony Clement, Minister of Industry, today announced a project to develop a new hybrid electric vehicle (HEV) version of BRP's Can-Am Spyder roadster. This project, supported by the Automotive Partnership Canada (APC) program, will boost automotive research and development (R&D) and will strengthen Canada's economy over the long term.

"A healthy and sustainable automotive industry is an essential part of Canada's economic recovery," said Mr. Blaney. "APC helps fund and create R&D partnerships to ensure our auto sector remains at the cutting edge of automotive innovation."

Mr. Blaney announced that the Université de Sherbrooke will receive $6.7 million from the APC program for a $12.5-million R&D project to develop a hybrid version of BRP's roadster—the only mass-production, on-road vehicle that is entirely designed and manufactured in Canada. Funding for this project will help to position Quebec as a hub of expertise in HEV technology and will increase the number of professionals in this specialized area.

The project, which will be carried out by the Université de Sherbrooke in partnership with BRP, is supported by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) and the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI).

"Canadian academic researchers are well suited to be at the leading edge when developing new technologies that contribute to a sustainable automotive industry," said Dr. Suzanne Fortier, President of NSERC. "In this project, researchers will be developing the next generation of HEV and creating environmentally conscious alternatives that will enhance Canada's competitiveness."

"The CFI is proud to collaborate as a partner with researchers from the Université de Sherbrooke to develop new and innovative solutions for hybrid vehicles," said Dr. Gilles G. Patry, President and CEO of the CFI. "Providing researchers with the tools they need to undertake leading-edge research and to share some of the knowledge gained from that research is what the CFI is all about."

Announced by Minister Clement in April 2009, APC 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. Other recently funded APC research projects focus on addressing the widespread adoption of electric vehicles, developing natural gas and diesel engine technologies, and creating on-board storage and reusing waste thermal energy.

NSERC is a federal agency that helps make Canada a country of discoverers and innovators. The agency supports some 29,500 university students and postdoctoral fellows in their advanced studies. NSERC promotes discovery by funding more than 11,800 university professors every year and fosters innovation by encouraging more than 1,500 Canadian companies to participate and invest in post-secondary research projects.

The CFI is an independent corporation created by the Government of Canada to fund research infrastructure. Its mandate is to strengthen the capacity of Canadian universities, colleges, research hospitals and non-profit research institutions to carry out world-class research and technology development that benefit Canadians. Since its creation in 1997, the CFI has committed $5.3 billion to support 6,800 projects at 131 research institutions in 65 municipalities across Canada.


Automotive Partnership Canada Initiative

Automotive Partnership Canada (APC) is a five-year, $145-million initiative to support collaborative research and development (R&D) activities benefiting the Canadian automotive industry through partnerships between industry and academia and/or National Research Council Canada.

APC's funding partners are as follows:

  • 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); and

  • Canada Excellence Research Chairs Program ($10 million).

Research Areas

An industry task force guided the development of APC. This included identifying research priorities, that were grouped under three strategic themes. To be supported, research must fall under at least one of the following three priority areas:

  • Improving the Automobile's Environmental Performance and Impact;

  • The Cognitive Car; and/or

  • Next Generation Manufacturing.

The latest research project to be approved under the APC initiative will help create a new breed of hybrid electric recreational vehicle, in which the engine is converted to hybrid propulsion and includes environmentally conscious technologies and products.

Project: Development of a Hybrid Propulsion Roadster

Partners: Université de Sherbrooke and Bombardier Recreational Products

Government of Canada APC Investment: $6,698,532

Alain Desrochers, of the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the Université de Sherbrooke, in close partnership with Bombardier Recreational Products (BRP), is working on a four-year R&D project to create a new breed of hybrid electric vehicle for BRP's Can-Am product family. Currently, Can-Am Spyder roadsters, which offer riders an exciting and safe experience, are equipped with conventional high performance gasoline engines. The aim of this project is to convert these vehicles to hybrid propulsion and develop environmentally conscious technologies and products.

Support through APC will enable BRP to embark on the design of its hybrid roadster while developing new knowledge and technologies for the future. From an original equipment manufacturer's or supplier's point of view, the project is intended to enable BRP to widen its market into the field of recreational products and to potentially break into the commuter market, particularly in Europe. Another important outcome is that an estimated 20 highly qualified personnel will be trained during the course of the project.

The research is to be jointly supervised by professors from the Université de Sherbrooke, and engineers and professionals from BRP.

Contact Information

  • Office of the Honourable Tony Clement
    Minister of Industry
    Lynn Meahan
    Press Secretary
    Industry Canada
    Media Relations
    Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada
    Danielle Nasrallah
    Senior Communications Advisor