GM Canada president and managing director Steve Carlisle called on governments in Canada to act quickly to carve out a purposeful role in a fast changing automotive sector that is increasingly defined by electric vehicles, connected and autonomous driving cars and new approaches to urban mobility.
“No company, country or government owns this space, but we see that Canada has distinct advantages in mobile technology, engineering skills, applied research and a strong automotive history,” said Carlisle. “As Canada prepares to invest billions in much needed urban transportation infrastructure, we need to understand how new automotive technologies and urban mobility approaches can increase infrastructure ROI, accelerate environmental benefits and anchor new high skilled Canadian jobs at the forefront of a new automotive innovation supply chain.”
In April 2015, GM Canada announced it that has been awarded a new automotive R&D and innovation mandate at its Oshawa Engineering Centre, focused on fast emerging “connected car” and the development of new urban mobility solutions. The company is hiring 100 new software engineers and engaging a growing ecosystem of select Canadian universities, accelerators and suppliers in its mandate.
Carlisle announced that GM Canada will support the University of Waterloo’s Engineering Faculty by providing $1 million to fund a Research Chair in advanced materials while also sponsoring engineering student Capstone design projects involving software development, which is key to GM Canada’s work on “the connected car.”
Dean of Engineering Dr. Pearl Sullivan said, “Waterloo Engineering has a longstanding partnership with GM Canada. Their support of ourEducating the Engineer of the Future campaign allows us to collaborate further to advance innovations in automotive lightweighting and connectivity.”
Carlisle also announced that GM Canada will establish an innovation research outpost within Waterloo’s Communitech innovation research hub with initial focus on urban mobility, car sharing and mobile app innovation.
“Communitech has developed a unique innovation ecosystem that allows enterprise companies and startups to collaborate and innovate together,” said Communitech CEO Iain Klugman “General Motors Canada is a great addition to this ecosystem, as our startup and mid-sized companies will benefit from having access to a world class automotive company, while GM Canada will be exposed to new concepts, technologies and ways of thinking about opportunities in the automotive sector.”
- GM has a significant industry lead in the availability of 4G LTE connectivity turning its cars into powerful mobile hot spots able to support up to seven streaming mobile devices.
- GM’s OnStar Remote Link app allows customers to use their smartphone to remote start their car, open door locks, check tire pressure, oil life and more.
- GM is supporting a range of car sharing projects internationally including one in New York with a fleet of cars available to condo owners 24/7 as part of their condo fees, reservable by specialized app.
- GM sells three plug in electric vehicle models in Canada including Canada’s largest-selling plug in electric car, the Chevrolet Volt.
- GM has announced that in 2016 it will launch the affordable, all-electric Chevrolet Bolt electric vehicle in Canada with 320km range before recharging.
- GM has launched its “Teen Driver” app, allowing parents to track distance, speed, overspeed warnings, antilock engagement and with seat belt promoting technologies on certain vehciles.
- GM Canada currently manages approximately $190 million research and development work per year with a wide range of leading Canadian suppliers and universities.
- The Oshawa Engineering Centre activities include development of new “connected car” software and active controls, new urban mobility solutions and innovation in the use of batteries, alternative fuels, light-weight and advanced materials which help improve fuel economy.