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Project Arrow showed off what Canadian auto technology can do. Now comes phase 2

Ed Dawson, the interim Executive Director of the Invest Windsor Automobility and Innovation Centre poses at the VR CAVE which the Arrow was produced virtually. (Dale Molnar/CBC - image credit)
Ed Dawson, the interim Executive Director of the Invest Windsor Automobility and Innovation Centre poses at the VR CAVE which the Arrow was produced virtually. (Dale Molnar/CBC - image credit)

Ettractive Inc. of Oldcastle, Ont., produced electronic components for the Arrow project vehicle that rolled out last year. Now, owner Pat Troy says they are preparing an expression of interest to participate in Arrow 2.0

"So version 2.0 will certainly involve refinement of the electronic systems and control systems in the vehicle. We'll look at a higher quality of electrical wiring as well as implementation of some new protocols between some of the devices," said Troy.

His company was one of 50 Canadian companies that showcased their technologies and products in the Arrow vehicle.

The $20-million project was funded 60 per cent by the automotive industry and 40 per cent by the federal and provincial governments in Ontario and Quebec.

The Automotive Parts Manufacturers Association (APMA) put out requests for proposals earlier this month for the next phase of the project, which could see up to 25 vehicles produced.

"I have to see how many suppliers come in, in how many vehicles that will make, but we'll probably have the same budget as the first one for a fleet of vehicles," said Flavio Volpe, president of the APMA, adding he has seen dozens of responses to the RFP process, and he expects 40 per cent of the companies participating in the project coming from this area, the same amount as in the first phase.

The Arrow debuted at the CES in Las Vegas last year.
The Arrow debuted at the CES in Las Vegas last year.

The Arrow debuted at the CES in Las Vegas last year. (Nick Persichilli/APMA)

"And so, this is my promise to go back to everybody else who didn't get a chance to go around the world with us, to customers, with us and to platform them," said Volpe.

He said the current Arrow car is on a world tour and was recently featured at the COP 28 climate conference in Dubai last year.

Joe McCabe, the president and CEO of AutoForecast Solutions, said the Arrow project is succeeding in showcasing on the global stage what Canada has to offer in the latest of automotive technology.

"So the Project Arrow, even small in scale, is pretty fortuitous in terms of how it's putting Canada on the map," said McCabe.

The Invest WindsorEssex Automobility and Innovation Centre expects to once again partner with the APMA to provide the virtual drawing board for the Arrow 2.0 through its VR CAVE.

"For example, if you have a different style front sides or different components that might need to be changed, we can go ahead and make those in the digital format," said Ed Dawson, the interim executive director of the centre. "And so really we're going to utilize the system to be able to bring the digital version of what's coming next to life."

Volpe expects to visit Windsor in late February to drum up interest in Arrow 2.0 with local suppliers. He says talks are ongoing with upper levels of government for funding, so he can't say what the project will cost but expects it to be at least another $20 million.

The RFP process ends on March 31. Volpe says they will assess the expressions of interest in the summer and put together the suppliers with the expectation to begin production next January.