“Our priority is to grow Durham Region as a favourable spot for the development of connected, autonomous-shared and electric technologies and advanced mobility,” said Dan Ruby, Manager, Business Development and Investment, Invest Durham. “Durham Region’s energy sector is a significant player in Ontario and Canada’s innovation ecosystem. The region produces over 30 per cent of Ontario’s electricity and has a strong cluster of over 250 companies.”
“Durham Region has been a centre of manufacturing excellence in Canada in the automotive, aerospace and automation spaces… Innovation is in our DNA,” he added. “We are now currently experiencing a once-in-a-generational opportunity as an emerging global leader — an electron valley, if you will.”
The presentation included speakers from Invest Durham, Ontario Tech University, the Ontario Vehicle Innovation Network, Durham College, Durham Regional Technology Development Site, and Next Generation Manufacturing Canada (NGen).
Sherry Colbourne, President and CEO of Spark Innovation Centre that is part of Durham Regional Technology Development Site and specializes in transit, safe and accessible transportation, and smart and connected mobility and infrastructure, noted there is a “very specialized and talented” group of partners in the area trying to advance electrification.
“We’ve got the people who have the most vested interest in promoting the region and building the economy in this region as supporters of what we’re doing in this region,” said Colbourne. “That allows us to bring real-time municipal challenges that every municipality across the world will face through electrification, and creating challenge statements that we then can draw solution providers into our region and develop these pilots and experiment with this technology. This is really the core of adoption of any technology … We have vast reach into the global network.”
She noted the world is at a “pivotal moment” in history, in terms of electrification.
“We all want to advance electrification,” said Colbourne. “We have finally embraced this momentous shift from ICE to electrification. This is a unique moment and I think with the OVIN network, Ontario has had great vision in creating this kind of sandbox that exists across Ontario to really advance electrification.”
Andrew Scuse, Durham College’s Leader, Corporate Training Services Automotive Solutions, said the world is on the verge of widespread adoption of EVS and it is complex. “There are some new discussions that we’ve never had before — EVS, PHEVs, HEVs, BEVs, range, kilowatts, kilowatt hours, Level 1, Level 2, DC fast charging, home charging, public charging and adapters,” said Scuse.
“The topic on EVs can be confusing to those who are not immersed in the industry. Here’s where our team comes in to support this transition with digital and live experience solutions,” he said.