Steven Guilbeault speaking in front of podium at Propulsion Quebec event
Propulsion Québec, an association representing Quebec’s electric and intelligent transportation sector, announced it will be distributing over $8 million dollars from the federal and provincial governments into three separate electric vehicle-related ventures including charging infrastructure, fleet transition support and defence and security technology. Photo: Mehanaz Yakub

The funding, from the federal and provincial governments, will support installation of over 600 new public EV chargers and help launch several business development initiatives, including a defence-focused project, to boost Quebec’s intelligent EV industrial cluster

Propulsion Québec, an association representing Quebec’s electric and intelligent transportation sector, announced it will be distributing over $8 million dollars from the federal and provincial governments into three separate electric vehicle-related ventures including charging infrastructure, fleet transition support and defence and security technology. The objective is to accelerate the long-term development of Quebec’s sustainable electric and smart mobility industrial ecosystem.

Propulsion’s first new program called Charge+ supports the installation of electric vehicle chargers across Quebec.

Last week, Steven Guilbeault, the minister of Environment and Climate Change of Canada, took the stage at an event hosted by Propulsion Québec at Les Grands Ballets’ Atrium in downtown Montreal to announce that the federal government is investing $4 million into Propulsion Québec’s Charge+ program, to be reallocated to different recipients across the province to install a total of 680 Level 2 EV chargers. The funding comes from Natural Resources Canada’s Zero-Emissions Vehicles Infrastructure Program (ZEVIP).

“Since 2019, [the federal government] has funded the installation of 35,000 charging stations across the country and as part of the 2022 budget, we announced an additional $1.7 billion to install 50,000 more stations by 2025,” Guilbeault told the audience last Thursday.

“Propulsion Québec is at the heart of Quebec’s efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and prevent the devastating effects of climate change. Its objective is to contribute to the creation of wealth and the reduction of the ecological footprint of the transportation sector.”

Program eligibility and funding

Propulsion Québec will be in charge of distributing the government funding. Organizations that are eligible to apply for the program include for-profit and not-for-profit members or major private-sector partners of Propulsion Québec, public-sector partners, provincial, regional or municipal government agencies and their public institutions, and agencies and government corporations in the province.

Funding is not available to federal organizations, Crown corporations or federal agencies.

The Charge+ program will cover up to 50 per cent of the total project costs to a maximum of $5,000 for the equipment and installation of Level 2 connectors with 3.3 kW-19.2 kW speeds, $15,000 per fast-charge station with 20 kW-49 kW speeds and up to $50,000 per DC fast charging station with 50 kW and higher charging speeds.

“The Charge+ program supports the growth and development of the electric and intelligent transportation ecosystem, as it responds to the need to increase the number of charging infrastructures in order to achieve our economic and environmental objectives,” said Sarah Houde, CEO of Propulsion Québec in a press statement.

“This program strongly reinforces Propulsion Québec’s position as a key player in accelerating the electrification of transportation, supporting businesses in the shift to electric vehicles and promoting the ecological transition of the Quebec economy.”

All of the new charging infrastructure is expected to be operational by March 31, 2024. They will be located in public areas, multi-unit residential structures, on roadways, at workplaces, and at facilities for maintaining fleets of light-duty vehicles.

More funding for three other initiatives

In conjunction with the Charge+ announcement, the federal government pledged to provide Propulsion Québec $2.2 million through the Canada Economic Development for Quebec Regions (CED) agency to fund two new projects launched by the association: Transition+ and Defence and Security (D&S).

The Transition+ program will provide financial assistance and access to experts in manufacturing, marketing, and supply chain operations and support to Quebec manufacturing companies that have or plan to have products and services related to the electric and smart transportation sector, member companies under Propulsion Québec’s “Industrial” category, and small and medium-sized businesses with less than 500 employees and a Quebec Enterprise Number.

The D&S program will be “the first phase of a project that will eventually enable Propulsion Québec members to develop services and products for the D&S market in order to transition these specialized vehicles and infrastructure to EST [electric and smart transportation],” says the press statement.

“Thanks to these investments, Quebec’s entire intelligent electric vehicle industrial cluster will be positioned as a key player in the deployment of this economy,” said Guilbeault.

He added that the Canadian government’s “investments are part of our ambitious plan to move to a cleaner, more sustainable economy for generations to come.”

The Quebec government is also providing $2 million to Propulsion Québec for the implementation of the “Défis innovation Québec” program, where Quebec companies can access funds to develop solutions related to electric and intelligent transportation.

“This project aims to develop innovations in the field of electric and intelligent vehicles to meet the challenges of several ministries and organizations. We could think of solutions to electrify public vehicle fleets in the regions or digital tools to model solutions for urban mobility,” said Pierre Fitzgibbon, Quebec’s minister of economy and innovation and regional economic development at the Propulsion Québec event.

“In addition, the “Défis innovation Québec” [program] will provide business opportunities for Quebec companies [and] give them a boost in commercializing their innovations. This project, therefore, fits very well into Quebec’s research and innovation investment strategies.”

Ambition EST 2030 roadmap

During the event, Propulsion Québec’s also unveiled a roadmap for an electric and smart transportation (EST) ecosystem entitled Ambition EST 2030.

The roadmap sets out a strategic plan to accelerate the long-term development of sustainable electric and smart mobility in Quebec. Developed in partnership with Deloitte, it consists of eight strategic themes broken down into 225 initiatives. Each of the program initiatives announced in collaboration with the federal and provincial governments at last week’s event aligns with one or more of the eight strategic themes outlined in the roadmap, says Houde.

These themes include:

  • Developing a world-class talent pool;
  • Stimulating the development of innovations with strong commercial potential;
  • Leading the EV transition effort in North America;
  • Accelerating infrastructure deployment;
  • Fostering collaborative and secure data management;
  • Boosting simulation, experimentation, and testing capabilities to become a global leader;
  • Facilitating access to capital and funding opportunities; and
  • Leveraging the battery industry to support EST growth.

“Ambition EST 2030 was developed with over 200 collaborators who mapped the industry and identified areas for growth and high-potential initiatives that will give Quebec a strategic position in the North American market by 2030,” reads the press release.

Propulsion Québec has also created an online dashboard, where stakeholders can report on the progress of the different projects in the sector. The online dashboard will be accessible to the public and will help to monitor Quebec’s entire land transportation industry.

“Quebec already has superb resources and a long list of strengths in this sector – the roadmap is going to consolidate all that potential…It’s no surprise that EST represents an opportunity for Quebec to reduce GHG emissions, improve transportation and mobility, make our businesses more competitive, and boost a key sector of the economy,” said Houde.

“We hope Ambition EST will establish Quebec as a model for innovation by strengthening our sector’s economic, social, and environmental impact while helping the Quebec government achieve its goals.”