Skip to content

Province announces Northern Ontario electric vehicle initiative

Research and development to advance technology, strengthen critical minerals supply chain

Public and private partners in six of Northern Ontario’s leading communities will work together to help advance technology associated with electric vehicles (EVs).

The province announced on April 22 that EV research and development work would be shared between partners in North Bay, Sault Ste. Marie, Greater Sudbury, Temiskaming Shores, Timmins, and Thunder Bay.

This coalition will form the previously announced Northern Ontario Regional Technology Development Site (RTDS), which is one of seven across the province working to advance the technology associated with electric, automated, and connected vehicles under the province’s Ontario Vehicle Innovation Network (OVIN).

At the time, the province simultaneously announced $56.4 million investment toward the OVIN to support the work.

“Right now, Ontario is uniquely positioned to emerge as a North American EV hub, and we will continue to invest in Ontario’s manufacturing and innovation ecosystem as we build the cars of the future,” Vic Fedeli, minister of economic development, job creation and trade, in an April 22 news release.

“We’re making sure our innovators, entrepreneurs, and small and medium-sized enterprises in every region of the province have the capital and support they need to bring Ontario-made EV and connected and autonomous vehicle (CAV) solutions to the world.”

According to a call for proposals issued last year, the Northern Ontario site will focus on “battery technology and electrification with the site’s activities oriented around the development and nurturing of Ontario’s battery and electric vehicle (BEV) supply chain from initial critical minerals refining to downstream battery cell design, electric vehicle (EV) powertrain, manufacturing, and other related EV technologies.

“This new RTDS will leverage Northern Ontario’s existing talent, mining and mineral expertise, and leadership to provide Northern and BEV SMEs (small and medium enterprises) with support under the RTDS model.”

Colleges and universities, regional innovation centres, incubators and accelerators, municipal and regional resources, industry, and other regional collaborators are expected to contribute.

"As the demand for electric vehicles continues to grow, so does the demand for the critical metals used in the production of electric vehicle batteries, including the cobalt and nickel mined and produced by Glencore’s Sudbury Integrated Nickel Operations,” said company vice-president Peter Xavier.

“Due to the abundance of high-grade material located in our Sudbury area nickel mines, we are well-positioned to be a lead supplier to the burgeoning electric vehicle battery market."