Six projects will focus on developing lighter weight vehicle materials and more efficient car batteries.

The federal government is injecting $19 million into six research projects exploring new technologies in Canada’s hard hit auto sector, Industry Canada announced today.

Past Automotive Partnership Canadaprojects have included research into this electric sports car that usesjust two litres of gas per 100 kms.

An additional $15 million in funding will be put into the projects from industry partners, bringing the total tally to $34 million. The projects will involve partnerships between the auto industry andCanadian universities to focus on developing lightweight materials foruse in cars as well as more efficient batteries for vehicles.

The $19 million in federal funding comes from Automotive PartnershipCanada, a $145-million R&D fund set up in 2009 after the globaleconomic downturn devastated the North American automotivesector.

“Our government’s long-term goal with Automotive Partnership Canada isto support and maintain an innovative Canadian auto sector,”Kitchener-Waterloo MP Peter Braid said in a news release on the fundingannouncement.

One of the projects will involve $3.7 million in funding for Universityof Waterloo research into developing materials that canreduce avehicle’s body weight by 50 per cent while still maintaining passengerand driver safety. Companies involved in that initiative include 3MCanada, Cosma International (a division of Magna International), HuysIndustries Ltd., and Meridian Lightweight Technologies Inc.

Another project at Hamilton, Ont.’s McMaster University will receive$2.3 million to develop high-performance lithium batteries for cars inconjunction with corporate partners Bruker Ltd., General Motors ofCanada Ltd. and HEKA Electronics Inc.

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