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Province seeking proposals for electric vehicle tech centre in Northern Ontario

Location for new Regional Technology Development Site expected to be announced in March

The Ontario Vehicle Innovation Network (OVIN) is seeking proposals from Northern Ontario organizations interested in hosting a centre focused on the development of electric vehicle (EV) technology.

OVIN, an initiative of the provincial government, issued a call for proposals on Dec. 6, just days after launching.

Through OVIN, the province wants to establish a series of Regional Technology Development Sites (RTDS), including one in Northern Ontario, where experts would develop and help commercialize new technologies related to electric, connected and autonomous vehicles.

Each of the seven proposed sites would concentrate its expertise on one element of the technology.

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,” the call for proposals indicates.

“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.”

According to the post, the site would host entrepreneurs, startups and SMEs; test, validate and prototype technologies; provide access to specialized equipment for testing, development, and demonstration of new products and technologies; provide business and technical advisory services; and host networking and collaboration opportunities.

The successful proponent must be a “not-for-profit or consortium of not-for-profits operating in Northern Ontario with a successful track record supporting Northern Ontario’s innovation economy.”

The site can comprise multiple locations, and consortium models are “encouraged,” according to the post.

The Northern Ontario site will be funded with up to $4 million in provincial funding over three years.

Interested proponents have until Jan. 25, 2022 to apply, and the successful applicant is expected to be announced in March.

OVIN is part of Driving Prosperity – The Future of Ontario’s Automotive Sector, the province’s plan to capitalize on the growing North American demand for electric vehicles.