For the first time, Canadians are getting a peek under the sheet at the “Canada’s car” prototype, as Electric Autonomy Canada is invited to an early reveal
Attendees at the 70th annual Automotive Parts and Manufacturers Association (APMA) conference today in Windsor, Ont., are getting a unique opportunity.
The Arrow, the vehicle prototype created by Project Arrow, APMA’s national real-world demonstration of the best in Canadian automotive technology and talent, is being revealed at the mid-point of its final build, with its global reveal set for early 2023.
“We haven’t had a Canadian car company in 100 years, but it’s not because we don’t have the technology to design the engineering know-how — or the people,” says Flavio Volpe, in an interview with Electric Autonomy Canada on the eve of Wednesday’s events.
“What we did as an organization, and what we’re hoping to do as an industry together here on this unprecedented collaborative project is to show that the question that needs to be asked is: ‘Why not?'”
Project Arrow legacy
Project Arrow is a single prototype vehicle combining the efforts of 58 Canadian industry partners (out of 534 applicants) and spearheaded by the APMA.
Each of the vehicle components are made in Canada and available on the market. Assembly of the vehicle — taking place at Ontario Tech University in Oshawa, Ont. — has been underway since the start of the summer.
Despite persistent questions dogging the project about the likelihood that Canadians will one day be able to buy their own Arrows, Volpe insists Arrow’s purpose is to act as a demonstration model of Canadian potential and talent, rather than a carrot to entice manufacturers to start scaling — which, he believes, could cost a billion dollars.
“If you participate with us, we’re gonna present this car to OEMs and say that the technology [in it] is available for volume purchase,” explains Volpe.
“We’re going to show everybody that we have everything that they have in Silicon Valley to have a startup culture in OEMs.”
Volpe says the possibility of an OEM or investor with deep pockets to sweep in and commit to mass produce the Arrow is not zero, but at this moment nothing is in the works. Regardless of whether or not the Arrow is ever built on a mass scale, the kind of publicity that goes along with simply being included in a prototype project like this is invaluable for smaller component makers and suppliers.
Global reveal at CES
So, the APMA team is determined on behalf of their supplier partners to squeeze the most notoriety out of Project Arrow as possible. Accordingly, Arrow’s debut splash is slated to be made on one of the world’s largest stages: the 2023 CES annual trade show in Las Vegas.
“CES in Las Vegas is the biggest audience. It’s become the most important technology show, but also the most important auto industry show,” says Volpe. It also happens to be the place where, nearly two years ago, the APMA launched its request for proposals for the AI components of Arrow.
The return to the show in 2023 will be a full-circle moment where the companies that were ultimately successful in their bid to be included on Arrow will have their technologies demonstrated to the near 200,000 international attendees.
“This is that flag on the moon. How many flags are on the moon? One. That’s the only one you need,” says Volpe, edging over to the car to finally reveal the skeleton.
“Why don’t I take the sheet off?”