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Wednesday, July 17, 2013
Premier Greg Selinger announces renewed funding for the Vehicle Technology Centre. Pictured (left to right) are Paul Soubry, president and chief executive officer of New Flyer Industries; Ron Vanderwees, president of the Vehicle Technology Centre; Premier Selinger; and Entrepreneurship, Training and Trade Minister Peter Bjornson.
July 5, 2013
PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT RENEWS INNOVATION SUPPORT FOR MANITOBA'S HEAVY VEHICLE MANUFACTURERS
The provincial government will renew funding to support Manitoba’s heavy vehicle manufacturers to continue developing new technologies that meet the high demands of municipalities and commercial firms, Premier Greg Selinger announced at New Flyer Industries today.
This year, the province is continuing to support innovation and the adoption of new technologies through a grant of $500,000 to the Vehicle Technology Centre. The centre, a non-profit corporation formed in 2002, works with Manitoba manufacturers and suppliers to foster research and competitiveness.
“Our heavy vehicle manufacturing sector is a recognized leader in North America, creating and supporting thousands of good jobs,” said Selinger. “Our continued investments in the Vehicle Technology Centre will leverage further investment and help this important industry continue to thrive and innovate in a competitive global market.”
Manitoba’s heavy vehicle manufacturing industry is home to North America’s largest bus manufacturers, New Flyer Industries and Motor Coach Industries; Canada’s largest fire truck manufacturer, Fort Garry Fire Trucks; and Canada’s largest manufacturer of tractors, Buhler Industries. The sector is responsible for:
creating more than 6,500 jobs, representing approximately 10 per cent of Manitoba’s manufacturing workforce;
exporting about $1 billion in products, representing up to 10 per cent of Manitoba’s annual exports; and
earning more than $2 billion in annual sales.
“Today’s announcement supports innovation in Manitoba’s heavy vehicle manufacturing sector and is a fine example of industry and government working together to the benefit of Manitoba’s economy,” said Ron Vanderwees, president of the Vehicle Technology Centre. “This type of co-operation builds advanced technical capabilities, develops world-class products and creates and maintains jobs in the province.”
“The Province of Manitoba’s contributions through the Vehicle Technology Centre are pivotal in helping us fund technical advancements in the transit industry as we continue to position ourselves as world-class leaders of innovation – from right here in Manitoba,” said Paul Soubry, president and chief executive officer of New Flyer. “This funding enhances our bus electrification development program, and, more specifically, our rapid-charging technology prototypes that are so key for effective and broad commercialization and acceptance.”
Until this year, the Vehicle Technology Centre’s OEM-Supplier Development Program had been supported under the Canada-Manitoba Economic Partnership Agreement. Under the previous agreement, which ran from 2009 to 2013, the program supported 11 projects that involved seven original equipment manufacturers and more than 40 Manitoba-based supplier companies.
“The Vehicle Technology Centre has been successful in leveraging additional research and development investment,” Entrepreneurship, Training and Trade Minister Peter Bjornson said. “Under the previous agreement, government dollars helped stimulate a five-fold investment from industry in new technology, and this new provincial funding is expected to do the same.”
Among the many noteworthy projects in the past four years were a new aluminum bulk-haul trailer built by Winkler-based Lode King Industries and a 60-foot, articulated, compressed natural-gas powered bus built by New Flyer Industries, said Selinger. New Flyer is now developing a new, all-electric, battery powered transit bus with a consortium of Manitoba partners including the Government of Manitoba, Red River College and Manitoba Hydro along with Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and with the support of the Vehicle Technology Centre.