Canada Invests Another $34 Million In Automotive Energy Storage Research

Canada is boosting automotive battery research through more government-industry-universities partnerships.

Gary Goodyear, Canada’s Minister of State (Science and Technology) announced this morning that six new projects will be funded with support from the Automotive Partnership Canada initiative and the automotive industry. These projects will allow the automotive sector to significantly enhance the efficiency of vehicles.

Automotive Partnership Canada’s funding provides companies, both in manufacturing and in the aftermarket, greater opportunity to stay at the forefront of innovation. Today’s announcement means these university–industry partnerships will receive almost CAD$34 million in total project support. This includes just under CAD$19 million in funding through the Automotive Partnership Canada initiative and nearly CAD$15 million from industry and other partners.

As part of today’s announcement, Hamilton, On’s McMaster University received CAD $2.3 million to explore ways to improve the performance of lithium batteries. The goal of this project is to bring the next generation of automotive batteries to the cars of tomorrow. The researcher, Dr. Gillian Goward, will collaborate with Bruker Ltd., General Motors of Canada Limited and HEKA Electronics Inc. for this project.

BC’s Simon Fraser University received over CAD$5 million to work on a new generation of fuel cells. For this project, 17 scientists and engineers from nine universities across Canada will work on reducing the production costs of this new technology. Dr. Steven Holdcroft is partnering with Automotive Fuel Cell Cooperation, Ballard Power Systems Inc., BIC Inc., General Motors of Canada Limited and Hydrogenics and Hyteon Inc.

A third project receiving funding is the University of Windsor, ON, for its high strength steel research. Dr. Daniel Green received over CAD$1 million in funding to advance a technology that manufactures lightweight automotive parts. When used in automotive chassis, high-strength steels—like aluminum or magnesium—help reduce vehicle weight.

A fourth research team led by Dr. Michael Worswick of the University of Waterloo received CAD$3.7 million to develop and test multi-material lightweight automotive structures. The goal of this project is to develop manufacturing and testing methods to reduce vehicle body weight by as much as 50 percent while maintaining safety. The industrial partners for this project are 3M Canada, Cosma International (a division of Magna International Inc.), Huys Industries Limited, Meridian Lightweight Technologies Inc., and Natural Resources Canada’s CANMET Materials Technology Laboratory.

More information about the six projects can be found here.

Automotive Partnership Canada (APC) is a five-year, CAD$145-million initiative that supports collaborative research and development (R&D) and pushes the Canadian automotive industry to greater levels of innovation. The APC program’s mandate is to encourage R&D through collaboration in auto-related research and development between the Federal Government, the auto industry in Canada and Canadian universities. As this is an industry-driven initiative, automotive companies provide both financial support and essential in-kind contributions to ensure the research projects’ success.

Other previously funded Automotive Partnership Canada research focused on the development of a battery pack thermal management system for hybrid electric vehicles, more efficient systems for lightweight wheel production, enhanced performance catalytic converters, improved fuel cell technology and improved automotive manufacturing workplace design and ergonomics.