Project Arrow is a shot of adrenalin to the heart of a moribund industry.
The project, named after the iconic Canadian Avro Arrow supersonic jet of the 1950s, is designed to harness Canadian auto ingenuity and creativity into the development of a zero-emissions concept car by 2022.
The goal of Project Arrow — the brainchild of the Automotive Parts Manufacturers’ Association (APMA) — is to build the vehicle entirely of Canadian components and software.
It’s also an antidote to a string of bad-news stories afflicting the industry.
“There’s a threat of a malaise setting in on the Canadian auto sector,” APMA President Flavio Volpe told Automotive News Canada’s digital and mobile editor, Greg Layson.
Canada’s auto industry has been in a downward spiral. After more than a century, General Motors in December ended vehi- cle production at its Oshawa, Ont., plant. lso last year, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles announced plans to kill one of three shifts at its minivan plant in Windsor, Ont., this March; and Ford recently cut jobs at its Oakville, Ont., factory.
“People hear bad news, but what’s missing in the narrative is that we have the most advanced supplier technology in the world,” Volpe said.
While traditional manufacturing sheds jobs and production, technology is driving an evolution of Canada’s auto industry. In Ontario, alone, more than 200 companies are working on connected and self-driving vehicle technolo- gies.
Project Arrow represents an opportunity to tell that story.
“We are as leading-edge as the Germans and the Japanese, Americans and Koreans, and we think as creatively as the Chinese,” Volpe said.
The APMA is inviting universi- ties and parts suppliers to join an effort that was inspired by the federal government’s goal of a zero emissions future by 2050.
“At the intersection of advanced mobility and cli- mate change lies the chal- lenge of our times,” Volpe said. “Future generations will ask if we ran faster or stretched out our arms far- ther. The Arrow will be remembered as the gauntlet we dropped in response to this call to action.”
As the global industry hurtles toward a future of electric vehicles and autonomous vehicles, Project Arrow sends the message that our auto industry is still in the game.
Go, Team Canada!