Two Canadian companies – one in Lakeshore near Windsor, the other in Ottawa – have developed innovations that have the potential to make cars lighter, more fuel efficient and, in the case of electric cars, better performing due to a longer battery life and Navdeep Bains, minister of innovation, science and economic development, announced funding totalling C$18.2m for the two companies.

Astrex of Lakeshore will receive a repayable contribution of up to $17m from the Federal Economic Development Agency's (FedDev Ontario) Advanced Manufacturing Fund. The investment will enable the auto parts maker to establish a facility that produces lightweight, high-strength aluminium components. The parts manufactured at this plant will reduce fuel consumption and lower carbon emissions.

The company plans to create 62 new full-time jobs this year and an additional 24 jobs in the next two years as a result of the federal investment.

Another $1.2m in a non-repayable contribution will go to GBatteries Energy Canada of Ottawa. The funding from Sustainable Development Technology Canada's SD Tech Fund, which funds clean-technology projects, will allow the company to develop longer lasting batteries for electric cars. The battery system would also recharge much more quickly than existing ones.

Other programmes that support research and development activities in the auto sector include the Automotive Innovation Fund and the Automotive Supplier Innovation Program.

"The investments made today in Astrex and GBatteries will lead to new products and services that are more energy efficient, emit lower carbon emissions and promote healthier communities. The investments will give middle-class Canadians working in the auto sector the opportunity to design and build the cars of the future. In the process, they will develop the skills that prepare them for the jobs of the future. That's how innovation leads to a better Canada," said Bains.

Astrex, established in 2015, is a new joint venture between Ontario-based CanArt Aluminum Extrusion Inc. and the Netherlands-based Constellium.

GBatteries was established in 2012 and has sold consumer electronic devices with embedded ActiveBMS in over 38 countries. Its technology has been successfully field-tested in a real-world environment.

Auto market intelligence
from just-auto

• Auto component fitment forecasts
• OEM & tier 1 profiles & factory finder
• Analysis of 30+ auto technologies & more