Several people sit on a stage while one person speaks into a microphone during a panel discussion.

Hundreds of representatives from the electric vehicle industry were at the Barrett Centre for Technology Innovation (Barrett CTI) on February 8 to attend the sold-out EV Innovation and Technology Conference.
The one-day event, which was hosted by Electric Autonomy, in partnership with NGen Next Generation Manufacturing Canada, brought together those from the electric vehicle industry as well as government officials and others to accelerate and transform electric vehicle manufacturing in Canada.  

The Polytainers Atrium was lively that morning as those in attendance networked over tea and coffee before heading to the first panel session.

“I know much of your discussions will be focused on innovation and you could not have chosen a better place,” said Humber College President and CEO Ann Marie Vaughan. “This building is a testing ground for new technologies, a place where faculty, staff, students and industry partners work in collaboration to find solutions to today’s advanced manufacturing challenges and to drive this important sector forward.”

Two people have a discussion with Humber College President and CEO Dr. Ann Marie Vaughan.

President Vaughan also used the moment to share that the College recently received a $30-million gift from the Barrett Family Foundation and how a portion of it will be used to support the Barrett CTI. The Barrett CTI was made possible by a $10 million donation from the Barrett Family Foundation and their seed fund helped catalyze an additional $17 million in funding from the Government of Canada and the Government of Ontario.

The inaugural conference featured a long list of speakers from the industry. Several panel discussions were held covering an array of topics including high-level challenges facing the sector and the strategies and investments needed to survive and thrive, building a sustainable supply chain, an insider’s view on next-generation batteries and how the industry is bridging the talent gap.

Neal Mohammed stands in front of a robot. Behind him is a sign that reads Barrett Centre for Technology Innovation.

The keynote speech focused on electric vehicle future market readiness and was delivered by NGen Next Generation Manufacturing Canada Chief Technology Officer John Laughlin and Accelerate President and CEO Matthew Fortier.

Honda Canada’s President and CEO Jean Marc Leclerc delivered the closing keynote.

There were also several fireside chats, including one to end the conference with Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade Vic Fedeli and NGen CEO Jayson Myers.

Two people have a discussion as one speaks into a microphone.

Nino Di Cara, president of Electric Autonomy, told the crowd the conference would provide “high quality content from industry leaders sharing their insights.”

“We have great potential in Canada to be global leaders in the EV transition in every aspect and advanced manufacturing across the supply chain is the cornerstone of that effort,” said Di Cara.

Test drives of electric vehicles by Plug’n Drive happened throughout the day while Invest WindsorEssex had a VR demonstration for those interested in the technology.

The Barrett CTI is home to the Advanced Manufacturing Skills Consortium, which is comprised of a group of nine leading industry partners. Together, the Consortium has developed a vision for a hub of innovation, supported by Humber faculty members and industry, where collaborations are helping to solve real-world business challenges and students are given learning experiences to prepare them to be the next generation of innovators.