“We’re going to show Canadians that we have the all the technology and all the ability to build this kind of car at home.”
It’s a very cool setting for a very cool project — the first all-Canadian electric car has been unveiled at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

What started as a challenge to see if it could be done has become a confidence booster and now a calling card for an industry that just a few years ago was worried it was being left behind.
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Project Arrow was launched in 2020 to design and build a zero emission vehicle using Canadian technology, parts and engineering know-how from end to end. Initiated by the Automotive Parts Manufacturers’ Association, the car is now being shown to the world at one of the most important tech shows in the world.

“We’re still testing but we got it finished in time for CES. We expect it to be in full demonstration in time for the Toronto Auto Show on Feb. 15,” AMPA president Flavio Volpe said in an interview.

“We’re going to show Canadians that we have the all the technology and all the ability to build this kind of car at home.”

Of particular interest to Volpe as he tries to sell the car in Vegas to a bunch of techies is the Canadian technology and innovation in this car. He says that most new cars will feature five or six new technologies but the Arrow will showcase 25 new technological features from the use of nano technology to security systems for the on-board computer.

“This car is intended to sell Canadian technology to existing car companies but also potential new companies that we can build everything here,” Volpe said.

“I’ve talked to companies from Tesla to Mercedes, Volkswagen to GM and Ford about the ability to build all components in Canada.”

With politicians like federal Industry Minister François-Philippe Champagne and Ontario Economic Development Minister Vic Fedeli travelling the world trying to sell Canada, and Ontario, as a place to build the electric vehicles of the future, Volpe said this car will be a key component of the sales pitch.

“Anyone can do a PowerPoint presentation, we can now have a minister drive up in a car to showcase what can be done,” Volpe said. “It’s the most expensive business card ever made but it’s a calling card for the industry.”

His energy and excitement for this project is bubbling over and through the phone as he gets set for the big reveal.

“I’m so pumped, I can’t even tell you,” Volpe said.

The Arrow, he said, can go from zero to 100 km/h in 3.4 seconds and has a 550-horsepower engine.

There’s only one model so far but it has been put through wind tunnel testing, extreme climate testing and more at the ACE testing facility at Ontario Tech University in Oshawa — the same facility used by top industry players.

As we talk about the car, Volpe is constantly calling out to academic and business partners from the industry who made this moment possible. The design team that won the competition was from Carleton University, Ontario Tech has provided the testing facilities and acted as a build partner, Waterloo University has engaged on the tech side.

Then there are the long list of business partners, most of them well known in the auto industry, others working on a project like this for the first time.

“From bumper to bumper, we are demonstrating with a working prototype that everything Champagne and Fedeli are saying in their roadshows is true,” Volpe said.

The two ministers have been travelling the world for the last few years courting automakers and key players in the transformation of the auto industry to set up shop right here. Now, they will soon get to drive up to those meetings in that working prototype.

The Arrow may never go into production for consumer sales, though that isn’t out of the question, but as a showcase for the ability to design, source and build in Canada, it’s looking like a success story.

blilley@postmedia.com

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